Identity

Sagittarius: The Preachy Know-It-All Who's Optimistic at All the Wrong Times

If there's someone who thinks they're the smartest person in every room—they're probably a Sagittarius.
Illustration by Asli Yazan

Astro Roast is a column in which astrologer Danny Larkin drags each sign, but affectionately!!

Call a Sagittarius a know-it-all and they’ll proudly smirk and respond, “Well I am quite the expert. Sorry you feel threatened by that.” They have no idea how grating it can be when they’re trying to be the smartest person in the room—which is basically all the time! It’s wonderful when a friend shares a shining pearl of wisdom over drinks, but it’s torture when a Sagittarius inflicts a lengthy college lecture on you while you’re out on a Friday night trying to party and get laid.

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When a Sagittarius becomes enthusiastic about an idea with a philosophical bent, they just can’t stop talking about it. They lose track of context and go on and on, unfazed by our monosyllabic responses meant to politely signal that it’s time to switch the subject.

Sagittarians can become utterly convinced that you’d be on the precipice of a major life change, if only you gave them your undivided attention and fully absorbed their long-winded musings! They totally miss how condescending they’re coming across: Maybe you already read the book they’re proselytizing about—they wouldn’t know! They never bothered to ask because once again, they got carried away.

Sagittarius is optimistic at all the wrong moments, and can drive their friends mad by searching for silver linings where there aren’t any. Sometimes, a jerk is just a jerk—and though it’s a shitty feeling when someone turns out to be the worst, it helps when a friend commiserates, cracks a dark joke, and shares a similar story. But this kind of support is too gloomy for Sagittarius! Instead, everything has to be spun into a teachable moment on your bold quest to self-actualize and unlock your full powers. This gets tedious, and all that talk about learning to attract better things can veer on victim-blaming. Some Sagittarians even imply it’s your fault when someone treats you badly because you aren’t fully on board with the latest trend in positive thinking!

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Many Sagittarians miss these nuances when trying to counsel friends, and then feel hurt that they aren’t the first person friends turn to in rough times. “Why aren’t you coming to me? I know about this!” they practically plead, and it’s hard to tell them that they’re being condescending and preachy. Sometimes we don’t need advice; we just want to know that other people were also once burned, made it through, and are now thriving on the other side of a difficult experience.

Sagittarius sucks at being diplomatic. They seem to think it’s their duty to correct people who appear to be going astray or making the wrong choice. Enlightening others gets a Sag off so much it may as well be their kink. This is another reason why friends, partners, and family don’t reach out to Sagittarius when times get rough. They want empathy—not an “I have all the answers and you don’t” attitude.

At work, Sagittarius often resents their boss for not having the right leadership philosophy. And the boss resents Sag for hijacking meetings with verbose diatribes that aren’t relevant to the task at hand, taking vacation during the busiest week because that’s when some guru is doing a retreat they just can’t miss, and condescending colleagues for making extremely human mistakes.

In love, Sagittarius has a hard time with the fact that their significant other is a human being. They tend to rehash the same conversations over and over, pontificating about their partners’ imperfections but becoming hostile when confronted about their own. Sag thinks it’s enough that they can talk the talk; their partner holds them accountable for not walking the walk. Most Sags could learn to go a little easier on their partners. Sometimes people have a bad day and screw up, and they don’t need to learn something—they just need to be held and given some time to recharge! Intellectualizing everything can make for great discussion after an art house movie, but it’s less desirable in the all-too-human moments in a relationship, when it’s wiser to snuggle, relax, and try again tomorrow.

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Sagittarius’ element is fire, and the crackle of a bonfire is a powerful metaphor for individuals born under this sign. A passion for truth and knowledge is the inner-fire that animates Sagittarius. But they need to be careful with their flames: Sagittarius can get over-enthusiastic and turn up the heat so much that those around them feel burned up and out.

Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is also a figure in Roman mythology that’s regarded as the equivalent of the Greek god, Zeus. There are many ancient stories about how Zeus used and abused his power and omnipotence; one of the most popular concerns Princess Leda, a married woman and renowned beauty. In an elaborate ruse, Zeus transformed himself into a magnificent swan and pretended to escape from a bird of prey, then laid down next to Leda and impregnated her. Leda went on to birth half-god and half-human children—who went on to cause a lot of trouble for their reckless, impulsive, and horny father. Like Zeus, Sagittarius can sabotage themselves and make their own lives more difficult by mismanaging their wisdom and misdirecting their power—especially by choosing to indulge their whims rather than focusing on the bigger picture.

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Sagittarius season is a crappy time of year, when autumn transitions to winter. But Sags love to find their silver linings and figure out how to create joy despite the season’s crappy weather and the world’s overall misery.

In the northern hemisphere, Sagittarius season coincides with the time of year when everyone is buying poinsettias for the holidays. The red, fiery flower is indigenous to Mexico and shipped to the states at considerable expense every year. This is a metaphor for how much Sagittarians want to create fire—providing light and warmth—in the darkness. But no amount of flowers associated with “holiday cheer” can change the fact that it’s freezing and gray out, even if Sagittarius would like you to pretend otherwise (and they do). Sometimes, Sagittarius needs to acknowledge the real world—and the real feelings of others outside of themselves—instead of trying to disguise hardship with their optimism.