Does height matter on dating apps? Here's how revealing that info actually affects your matches
Dating profiles often reveal everything from a person's job title to their astrological sign, but while many users don't mind sharing this info, things often get tricky when it comes to another factor — height. Although plenty of people have no problems stating their actual heights, others exaggerate how tall they are, and some choose to omit their stats altogether. Putting your height on dating apps matters, it seems, at least in the eyes of countless users — but does adding in a number (real or fake) actually affect how often you’ll get swiped on?
Although judging someone solely by their appearance is fairly superficial, the limited amount of information dating apps permit means that unfortunately, users tend to put a lot of stock into their matches' heights, says David Bennett, counselor and relationship expert with dating coach service Double Trust Dating.
“For straight men, if you’re tall, it’s an advantage to list your height, since many women state preferences for taller men,” he tells Mic. “I always suggest that my clients list things that would put their best foot forward, and height in a guy is one of these things.” For shorter clients, Bennett advises them to not mention their heights, and instead list other qualities in order to avoid turning away possible matches.
Dating app users who've followed this advice have reported mixed results. Mike, who is 31 and 5’6”, says that he has more success when he doesn't reveal his height in his profile. “L.A. tends to be superficial and I think most women here want a tall guy,” he explains. “I go back and forth with putting my height on my profile, but I have better luck when I don’t.”
If the conversation is going well, Mike will tell the woman his height before setting up a date. "Most of the time, they appreciate that I told them and we go from there," he says. “Only once did this fail and the girl said she ‘can’t date anyone under six feet.'"
Unfortunately, there's a serious stigma around short men, and some recent studies even found that short men need to earn more money in order to compete with their taller peers in the dating market. As such, it's no wonder that some guys add an extra few inches to their heights on their profiles in the hopes that their potential matches will increase. The practice is common enough that as an April Fool's Day joke this year, Tinder added a “height verification” feature, saying in a blog post that "it’s come to our attention that most of you 5’10"-ers out there are actually 5’6". The charade must stop. This type of dishonestly doesn’t just hurt your matches — it hurts us, too … Well, height-lying ends here. To require everyone under 6 feet to own up to their real height, we’re bringing truthfulness back into the world of online dating."
Although the feature was just a joke, stretching the truth about how tall you are can have real consequences. "If you lie about your height, a potential partner may care more about the lie than your real height — and also question what else you are lying about,” says Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice at eharmony.
App user Michelle Kamke, 39, agrees. “While I don’t mind if someone omits their height from their dating profile, what does bother me is lying,” she tells Mic. “If a guy does lie about his height, I can’t help but wonder why he feels insecure and why he feels it’s OK for him to lie to a potential partner.”
Overall, honesty is the best policy. “I do believe it matters to be accurate in everything you are posting — photos, age, career, preferences, and your height," Assimos says. "The bottom line is that some people care about height and some people don’t, but it is best just to be genuine and put it all out there from the beginning.”
For straight women, whether or not to add in height — accurate or not — is typically far less of a concern. According to Bennett, a woman's height won’t have much of an impact on the amount of matches she gets, as straight men frequently don't see height as a major factor. The exceptions, however, are shorter guys who don't want to date women significantly taller than them. “The main effect [tall women adding their heights] might have will be that men will likely assume you want a guy who is taller than you, so if your height is on the taller side, you might be sifting out shorter guys," Bennett explains. 'They’ll assume listing your height is meant to exclude them."
In same-sex and non-binary pairings, height is often even less of an issue. “This is in part because there is already an expectation that the relationship will not appear the way society has promoted relationships to look,” says Kryss Shane, a social worker and LGBTQ+ expert.
Sara, 33 and 5’7”, tells Mic that she doesn’t even look at a woman’s height when she’s going through profiles. Instead, she says, “I focus on if they look sweet in their pictures and if their profile makes me laugh — it’s that simple.”
Regardless of sexual orientation, there are plenty of app users who think adding in height at all is unnecessary. When Matt M., 40 and 6', joined Tinder a few years ago, he was surprised to find that women cared about something as superficial as how tall he was. “I mean, I wasn’t asking for women’s measurements on my profile,” he says.
After seeing that other guys in his height range seemed to be having success when they listed their stats, Matt added his own in, although he still cringed at being "physically objectified based on a single feature," as he says. But when women he matched with told him they actually didn't care about his height, he removed it from his profile — but then other women started to ask him for it.
“Damned if you put your height, damned if you don’t,” he says now. Eventually, he decided to write: “I’m 6’... if it matters to you or not" — before meeting his current girlfriend offline.
And "in the non-app world, people aren’t as concerned with exact numbers related to height,” says Bennett. "I doubt a couple who meets in real life is going to exclude the other because one is 5’9” instead of 5’10... people are more likely to fall for others who are outside their stated height range based on other factors, like the person’s facial attractiveness, personality, humor, and so on."
Julie Spira, dating coach and CEO of matchmaking company Cyber-Dating Expert, seconds this. “If you meet someone offline, you wouldn’t ask them exactly what their age was, or how tall they are without shoes or boots on, because either you’d have chemistry, or you wouldn’t," she explains.
It's not that caring about someone's height makes you shallow or focused on the wrong priorities. It's perfectly fine to limit your dating pool based on height if that really matters to you, says Rachel Wright, a sex and relationship therapist. "That’s OK — own it,” she says. “And if you don’t care, own that, too. There’s no right or wrong here, just what’s best for you.”
The main thing to remember is that even if you do tend to swipe left on people who don't meet your height requirement, it's possible that the right person for you won't fit into that box, so try to keep an open mind. “We were all born with the genes we have, and height doesn’t directly relate to a person’s character,” says Spira. “When it comes to love, eliminate superficial barriers and find someone who’s a good fit as a person with similar values.”
And that goes for those worried their heights will turn away potential partners, too. “The right person for you will likely either not care or find that to be just one more trait about you that they love," says Shane.