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An Astrologer’s Guide to Family Feuds

Every holiday season, there’s an endless stream of unsolicited advice about how to play nice with family you’d otherwise pretend didn’t exist. And while some of it is useful — especially this, this and this — I prefer to look to the stars on how best to navigate the Thanksgiving dinner table in the chillest way possible. Because preventing epic arguments is as easy as knowing what your rival sibling’s sign is — or unpredictable cousin’s, or tortured uncle’s, or judgmental parent’s… (You get the idea). It reveals the outward thrust of their ego (i.e., the things they’re touchy about) and how they communicate (i.e., how they’ll tell you to fuck off — or passive aggressively brood — if and when you hit those raw nerves). Plus, the more you know about the chart of the family member who drives you crazy, the more you’ll be prepared to deal with them when they start pushing your buttons.

So this edition of the Astrologer’s Guide is designed to help you deal with those crazy people you love, but don’t like. Below is a general breakdown for each sign.

Aries (March 21 to April 19): Ariens are fun, competitive and love a challenge — especially a few drinks in. The only problem? They also have a short(ish) fuse. When they don’t win — whether it’s a drinking game or an argument about politics — the results range from accidentally hurting someone’s feelings to physical fights. The upside is that Ariens don’t waste time on things that aren’t worth the energy, so they typically don’t hold a grudge.

Taurus (April 20 to May 20): Because Taurans are stubborn, it takes a long time to get them to react to being poked. That said, if you’ve managed to seriously aggravate them, watch out for the horns of the bull. They become blind with rage when excessively provoked, and it takes them a very long time to calm down. Oh, and do not touch that last bit of stuffing on their plate — messing with a Tauran’s food is the fastest way to piss them off.

Gemini (May 21 to June 20): Geminis can become gossipy when they aren’t getting enough mental stimulation. This generally isn’t malicious; it’s more because Geminis get bored quickly. (Nothing wrong with creating a little drama in order to stay entertained, right?) The thing is, not everyone has the ability or patience to blather about how drunk and unfashionable another family member might be. And when Geminis aren’t in a place where people around them can keep up with this reckless banter, they’ll pull an Irish goodbye faster than anyone else.

Cancer (June 21 to July 22): Cancers will most likely have the smoothest holiday season as they’re the most family-oriented sign. They love cooking, hugs and all things squishy. If you don’t show appreciation for their efforts however, Cancers tend to sulk. That’s when the backhanded comments and passive-aggressive shoulder bumps come out.

Leo (July 23 to August 22): Leos are dramatic and love to entertain, which naturally always makes them the center of attention. The upside is that in order to get said attention, Leos are typically warm and jovial. The downside is that a Leo’s response to someone else showing off their new car or talking about their success is akin to that of a 6-year-old throwing a tantrum. When a Leo is truly despondent about the lack of attention they’re getting, you’ll find them sulking (like a Cancer) and positioned in the very center of whatever room has the most activity.

Virgo (August 23 to September 22): Because Virgos are perfectionists, they can be some of the best hosts. However, their perfectionist nature can graduate to nitpicking and outright criticism when things don’t go as planned. (This includes your attitude—they’ve planned for that to be a certain way as well.) Virgos become hypercritical when they feel someone isn’t appreciating their efforts, which often include setting the table with hand-drawn place cards, scrubbing the floors with a toothbrush and burning all evidence of the anxiety you’ve caused them by leaving your shoes on while walking about those newly scrubbed floors.

Libra (September 23 to October 22): Libras need a balanced environment. For some Libras, however, a “balanced environment” is one in which everyone around them is fighting and they get to step in and save the day with their charm. When saving the day backfires, their tendency is to become overly concerned with the status of their relationship with everyone involved in the fight.

Scorpio (October 23 to November 21): On good days, Scorpios are fun, fiery and engaging. On bad days, they’re just mean. We’re talking, “I’m thinking about ways to ruin your reputation before the night is over” mean. Similar to Aries, Scorpios have a short fuse. The difference is that Aries gets past things quickly, whereas Scorpios hold a serious grudge. The easiest ways to be on the receiving end of a Scorpio’s wrath is to a) ask them to split a large bill; b) ask them anything that can be perceived as “too personal”; c) breathe the wrong way; and/or d) break eye contact.

Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21): Sagittarians can go from being the life of the party to belligerent assholes in record time (especially when they’ve had too much to drink or smoke). When Sagittarians start questioning your beliefs or making up words, the best coarse of action is to leave before you get dragged into a long conversation about absolutely nothing. Be careful though: Sagittarians use the “nuclear option” — e.g., “The reason you’re single isn’t that you’re unattractive, it’s that people can smell your desperation from a mile away” — when they feel like they’re being belittled or ignored.

Capricorn (December 22 to January 19): Generally speaking, Capricorns are aloof and unexcitable. Catch them a few drinks in, however, and you’re likely to meet their depressed, brooding side. This can come as a surprise to those around inebriated Caps because they typically don’t reveal much. Truly upset Capricorns don’t bother with cussing people out or crying on the shoulder of a distant cousin — they go straight for more booze, proceeding to internalize toxins both physically and emotionally. A sense of duty and obligation will keep them at the party, but if they’re not in a good place, they can make everyone around them either concerned or bummed out.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18): Because of their curiosity and open-mindedness, Aquarians can have a conversation with pretty much anyone who will listen. That said, they’re a fixed sign, so when their deep well of knowledge about something is challenged (especially over cocktails), their defense is to dig in their heels and poke holes wherever they see a weakness or folly. When verbal attacks don’t work out in their favor, they turn ice cold and disappear for months at a time.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20): Because Pisces are hypersensitive, they’re the most conflict-avoidant sign. Their whole thing is escaping the crushing weight of anything too “harsh” — and by harsh, I mean if they see a sad puppy, their night will be ruined. Like Cancers and Virgos, Pisces are pretty willing to bend over backward for those they love. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t go well, their reaction is to self-destruct. This is when we get the stereotypical irresponsible Pisces — the one who needs them to drive them home only an hour after the party has started. That said, a genuinely upset Pisces will never react in the moment. Catch them a few months later, however, and you may see a side of them they’ve never shown you before. After all, their symbol is two fish swimming in opposite directions.