Dealing with Your Dysfunctional Family, Based on Your Sign

On the heels of another holiday season, we may be feeling satisfied, tired, broke or maybe just relieved that the annual visit to Aunt Shirley and Uncle Pete’s smelly cat house is over for another 52 weeks. This time of year is about celebrating 365 days’ worth of hard work and accomplishments with friends and family, but what happens when you just don’t get along with them?

Today we’re going to look at how to use astrology to decipher your weirdest and most difficult family members. No matter how they communicate, everyone has a style you can relate to, some of them are just harder nuts to crack. How do you deal with weird Capricorn family friend Renee? What’s up with your chatterbox Gemini brother-in-law?

We’ll look at each sign and give you some tips on what may be going on and how, if you keep these characteristics in mind, you just might learn to get along with your wacky family members – or even start to enjoy their company!

Someone invited an Aries if:

  • They can’t sit still
  • They jump conversational topics like a frog crossing a pond
  • They always bring the most modern dishes and presents

Cousin Bette shows up late to every family dinner, but she’s also the one everyone fights over for Secret Santa. She bears fabulous new dishes with outlandish ingredients and they look straight out of a food magazine. She’s blunt as hell and in perpetual motion, never seeming to land anywhere for long. Conversations can stop short, especially when you insert your own opinions.

Aries is at the head of the pack in ideas, trends and things to do. They have a childlike need to be first, to win and to come out on top. If you want to relate to her, ask her questions about her life, watch for when her eyes light up and keep the chatter going in that direction. Once she sees you as an ally and not a competitor, she’ll warm up to you and probably be a very loyal friend.

There’s a Taurus in the room if:

  • You can’t find them – they seem to go off on their own a lot, especially if it’s noisy and chaotic
  • They clearly came with an appetite – and probably wear stretchy pants for a big meal
  • They are the voice of reason when your family is fighting or being dramatic

Uncle Pete is a bit of a loner, and you can eventually find him at family gatherings in the garage, the backyard, or hanging with the dogs. He always seems to be avoiding the rush and chaos, trying to find a quiet spot to wait it out. He’s a little intimidating, because he doesn’t seem to care about getting to know you.

Taurus is not interested in gossip or drama, they like to keep it real. Totally down to earth, they’d rather be alone with their thoughts than in a room full of people talking about silly crap or worse – arguing. If you want to get to know him better, approach him one on one for advice, or about something cerebral. Once he sees you cut through any b.s. he’ll seek you out at the next event!

You can spot a Gemini if:

  • They never stop talking
  • They have a different date with them at every family gathering
  • They are charming, but can be very opinionated

Your sister’s husband Sam has two sides: 1. Gregarious social butterfly, quick with a laugh and endlessly entertaining. 2. Opinionated loudmouth who just has to get his point across – no matter how uncomfortable everyone else gets. You all hope the first one shows up, but you just never know. The best way to get to know a Gemini is to just get in the boat with them.

Geminis are very adaptable, but they have to be interested in the subject to gain their full attention. Either really get into what they’re discussing, or come armed with a really cool topic they will light up at hearing. If shady Sam comes out – stop fueling his fire. Geminis get bored easily, so by showing no interest and ignoring him, he’ll switch to a different topic to get the energy going again.

You know a Cancer if:

  • Their emotional state is totally unpredictable
  • You feel completely welcome in their gorgeous, comfortable home
  • They have a way of making you feel guilty

Will Mom lose her mind about the potatoes again this year? Will she guilt you into spending more time with her, or bring up that you’ve only called her 3 times this week? You want to introduce your new partner to your family, but can you avoid drama? Chances are, Mom put a lot of effort into planning this shindig, so if she feels anyone is less than grateful, it will hurt her very deeply.

Sensitive Cancer finds it hard to control their feelings. To avoid her passive-aggressive side, make her feel like the amazing hostess she is. She might nag you just because she wants to spend more time together. Do something thoughtful ahead of the party – call to ask how to contribute, or compliment her decorating. She’ll feel loved and respected and you can avoid the guilt trip.

You’re talking to a Leo if:

  • They fight everyone for the spotlight
  • They interrupt excitedly in conversation
  • They give a million presents and have a feast ready for you

Your energetic nephew Phil plans an annual spread for all of his friends and family – which can get loud, raucous and a little out of control. In the middle of it all, Phil makes sure he has the spotlight, and it’s always annoyed you that he has to assert his control and take center stage when there are so many other people around who deserve some attention.

He might not know how else to show how awesome he is than by shouting it out. Look past Phil’s childish need to be the main event and see that he really just wants to make sure you all love him as much as he loves you. He’s probably going to be paying off all the generous gifts he creatively wrapped for everyone, simply because he wants to spoil you – to him, you deserve it!

You have a Virgo in your family if:

  • They never have time to stop and chat at the family dinner
  • They likely planned, hosted and cooked for the entire event
  • Their kitchen, outfit and hair are immaculate, even when they’re simultaneously cooking and cleaning

How do you get through to scary Aunt Patty who seems to be in manic control mode at all times? You try to have a convo, but she gives you crazy face as she dashes by with a vacuum and a drink for Grandma. She might even sniff at your appearance if you aren’t dressed up. What you don’t realize is, Aunt Patty cares a whole lot about her family.

She wants to give you a perfect day, and she drives herself to stress trying to get everything right. When you make small talk with her, she’s like, “Are you kidding me? I have 5 million things to do and I haven’t gone to the bathroom all day.” Break the ice by immediately jumping in to ask what you can help with. Also, no bedhead at Thanksgiving and for heaven’s sake, tuck your shirt in!

You’re looking at a Libra if:

  • They seem to be flirting with everyone
  • They make sure to talk to everyone at least once
  • They are noticeably uncomfortable when people are arguing, or there is tension in the room

You always hope lovely Aunt Lemmy will show up at family events. Everyone does! She has a way of making everyone feel important, special and interesting all at once. The trouble with Aunt Lemmy is, she doesn’t seem to go past surface conversation, and you really want to get closer to her. It bothers you that she flits around like a butterfly, and you almost feel like you want her to yourself.

Air sign Libra is devastatingly charming, and it’s easy to become infatuated with them. They feel their job is to maintain harmony within the group, so they don’t go very deep when in large groups because it could stir up something too serious. If you do want to know her on a deeper level, connect with her one on one after the event, when she can turn her focus entirely on you.

You’re related to some Scorpios if:

  • No small talk, you reveal all about your inner most secrets, or they don’t talk to you at all
  • They stare at you curiously as you tell a story – or eat – or do anything
  • There’s a crazy intensity in everything they do

Avoiding your Stepdad at family events has become an art form for you. He has a way of making you feel like you’re somehow on trial, and you’re only focused on getting enough gravy on Grandma’s famous mashed potatoes. When he catches up with you, you’re subject to an investigation of your life. His blunt communication makes you feel like he’s going straight for the jugular.

Scorpios want to cut to the chase and have zero interest in diplomacy. If your Stepdad singles you out, that means he cares about you in his own scary way. Scorpios don’t waste time on people they don’t find worthy, so once you realize he’s grilling you to see what you’re made of – and can take what he dishes out – you might be more willing to accept his straightforward interest in your life.

You’ve spotted a Sagittarius if:

  • They just got back from a trip
  • They get philosophical over dinner
  • They are totally jacked up about a new discovery

Your effervescent niece Chloe bursts in the door chattering, laughing and laden with bags of gifts after another adventure in South America. She quickly exhausts you with her boundless energy and non stop photos, stories and ideas for her next trip. You think she’s selfish, seemingly disinterested in talking about anything but herself, even interrupting to insert her opinion or theory.

Sagittarius is fired up by ideas, learning and discovery. They’re very generous, but have a hard time focusing on the little details and small talk that come with the day to day. Once you realize she did think about you – her souvenirs are very thoughtful – you might soften a little. Tell her about your favorite vacation to a place she’s never been and you’ll have her whole attention.

You are among Capricorns if:

  • The quality of the wine is more important than any of the guests
  • They seem uber smart – but they are very aware of it
  • They are very composed, but listening intently

Quiet family friend Renee has been invited to holiday dinners for years. Her owlish way of perching intently at the dinner table just weirds you out. When she does speak, it can seem condescending, like when she explains to you the difference between plonk and a bottle of Spanish 2009 La Prohibicion, making you feel like a complete heathen.

Reputation is of the utmost importance to Capricorn – you can bet they’re aware of the impression they are making. Rational to a fault, they tell it like it is and focus on what they see as interesting, which may be over everyone else’s head. Asking her questions should draw her out, and once she realizes you are making the effort to know her, she will warm up to you. Slightly.

You’re eating next to an Aquarius if:

  • Anything under the category of weirdness applies here
  • They like to talk about space, inventions or wild and outlandish schemes or ideas about the future
  • They will not cry when you tell everyone you’re getting a divorce, but they’ll call you later with a plan for what you should do next

Really Grandma? You’re not sure you can handle another night of discussion about alien invasions and how we should all invest in grass roofs and goats to live more ‘green.’ She’s always been a free spirit and you admire the way she fearlessly talks about any crazy idea that pops into her head, but it can stress you out that others will write her off as a kook.

Instead of worrying about how crazy Grandma might seem to your new boyfriend, embrace her for the unique individual she is. Fiercely independent Grandma does exactly what she wants – don’t even think about bossing her around. You know she doesn’t give a rip what anyone thinks, so why should you? Taking a page out of her book on life could change yours for the better!

You have a Pisces in your family if:

  • You’re pulled aside for some one-on-one time
  • Your family member tears up when you tell a happy story…a sad story…a proud story
  • They seem overly artistic, creative

Your sister-in-law Rosanne exudes compassion, and seems to know immediately when someone needs support after going through a rough time. She might talk a lot about aligning chakras, the healing power of crystals and how meditation saved her life. She’s a little artsy, maybe gifting handmade macrame or love beads every year, but overall, it’s her kindness that stands out.

Instead of giving her a hard time and rolling your eyes at her patchouli perfume, listen to her advice. You might not agree with her beliefs, but there are few people in your life who will care as much about you as a Pisces. They feel it’s their job to help others, so however you get there, at least respect that you have such a selfless good listener to turn to.


We all have the capacity to drive people crazy – and let’s be real – family gatherings can be chaotic and fueled by bad blood, silly disagreements and on the flip side, an overwhelming sense of being loved. At the end of the day, we all just want to feel understood, and with all those personalities intermingling, that can be the hardest thing to do.

Taking the time to see the relationship from their side can actually help you to move past any issues or communication mix-ups and get to the next level. Hey, if you have to head to Grandma’s every year anyway, why not do your best to get along, make people feel comfortable and learn to laugh at Nana’s bad jokes and perpetual dandruff.

Related Article: Get in Touch With Your Secret Personality Traits Through Numerology

About The Author

Vanessa Hardcastle

Vanessa Hardcastle is a hardheaded Taurus with an affinity for sarcasm, good books and large dogs. She is fascinated by sociology and behavioral psychology – what, exactly, shapes our personalities? Astrology is a leg on the journey of self-awareness, as is philosophy, frank conversation, self-reflection, and heavy metal. Writing allows this emotional hermit to indirectly communicate - making powerful connections through storytelling.
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