The way you talk and listen is one of the first things new people notice — and as much as your
rising sign affects that, you actually have your Mercury sign to thank for your gift of gab or receptive listening skills.
Beyond giving you some context into how you talk and think, your Mercury sign can help you identify potential BFFs. Comparing your respective Mercury placements with people may give you a better idea of how you'll get along. If you have Mercury in chatty Gemini, for example, you might mesh well with someone a little quieter, but just as intellectually curious as you are — like someone with Mercury in Virgo. (Although, it should be said, having misaligned Mercury signs is not a good enough excuse to dismiss someone you've just met.)
If you aren't sure what your Mercury sign is,
check your birth chart online. You can also narrow it down by following this astrological rule of thumb: Your Mercury sign is either the same as your sun sign, the sign that precedes your sun sign, or the one that follows your sun sign. Ahead, learn more about what each Mercury sign means.
illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Aries The Straight Shooter In the confrontational, Mars-ruled realm of the Ram, words are weapons — and they are not to be minced. You like to get to the point, even if that means ruffling others' mild-mannered sensibilities in the process. This direct approach also affects which subjects you consider taboo. Simply put, there are very few things that are off-limits to you, Ram. You're often the one to point out the elephant in the room or state the hard truth that everyone would rather ignore. Taurus The Muller When it comes to thinking and talking, you prefer a slow-and-steady approach, but that doesn't mean you're always left in the conversational dust, Taurus. Rather, you just like to give yourself time to ruminate. And, once you're ready to chat, you prefer to stick to concrete concepts — no one would describe your way of speaking as "flowery" by any stretch — and that, in turn, can make you less amenable to on-the-fly abstract debates. Gemini The Whirlwind Multitasker that you are, Gem, you're ready for any topic of discussion at any time, anywhere, from the weather to international relations, but that doesn't mean you'll stick to one subject for long. You're a talented ice-breaker and won't hesitate to move the conversation along if you grow bored. This can make talking to you a little overwhelming for other signs, but the beauty of conversing with a Gemini is that you never know where your discussion will go. Cancer The Sponge You look, listen, and feel before you speak, Cancer. And when you do pipe up, it's often to express an emotion or share a valuable memory. Often described as shy, people with Mercury in Cancer tend to give others the floor while they stay behind the scenes, absorbing information and, for the most part, keeping it to themselves. You guard your heart and words so closely, dear Crab, that you may struggle to defend your ideas without getting upset. Leo The Entertainer You don't just tell a story, Leo, you put on a show. As a passionate fire sign, you use expressive, illustrative words that get a reaction out of your audience. Sure, you might exaggerate a few details in your dramatization of actual events, but what's the point in sharing something that doesn't please the crowd? One thing to watch out for, if you have this placement, is how you react when someone asks to have the spotlight for a moment — share the stage, Leo. Virgo The Processor Whether you're chatting up a date, your manager, or your landlord, you don't strike up a conversation without an endgame, Virgo. Your naturally curious sign knows the right questions to ask to get the information you need quickly and efficiently — then you usually have half a dozen more follow-up questions to help you put your learnings in context. Where your investigative approach might get you in trouble, however, is when you question your loved ones so much that you start to sound critical. Libra The Talk Show Host You can put anyone at ease with your breezy, low-pressure way of speaking, Libra. But, for all your gifts in keeping a conversation lively and engaging, you don't always go as deep as you could. It might be that your diplomatic sign fears offending the other person, but it's just as likely that you find small talk simply more enjoyable than philosophical discussions. Besides, even if your conversations stick to the surface, your Libran sense of humor is irresistible. Scorpio The Interviewer You like to be control of your conversations, but you also don't like to dominate the discussion. So, the way you find balance is by starting things off with a probing question — then kicking back and absorbing the response. The majority of your communication, dear Scorp, is done without saying a thing. You listen closely and show interest (or lack thereof) in your body language. Your friends don't come to you expecting grand speeches, but they are usually prepared for that one, precise comment from you that inevitably flips their perspective. Sagittarius The Professor Where having the bold sun in Sagittarius makes you an explorer of the outside world, having Mercury in this adventurous sign makes you more inclined to explore different academic subjects — and to expound upon them with your friends. This is not to say you drone on for hours about the last five historical tomes you've read, Archer. There's enough of a showman in you that you can make just about anyone care about whatever subject you've chosen to delve into this week. Capricorn The Bricklayer Methodical, thy name is Capricorn — but that quality can manifest itself in a few different ways. In professional settings, you like to follow a very clear conversational structure (one where you probably don't talk unless asked). But, in more laid back, social environments, your attention to detail shines through in your storytelling. Of course, the drawback here is that, when put on the spot, you may ramble in order to talk your way into your point. Aquarius The Scientist The Aquarian family motto, when expressed through Mercury, might as well be, "But why?" Such is your approach to information, Water Bearer. Simultaneously a skeptic and an eccentric, you don't ask "why" to challenge others — you simply want to trace their ideas all the way back to their origin point. There's no conversational rabbit hole too odd or specific for you, Aquarius — as long as someone is willing to go down it with you. Pisces The Poet You're by no means the chattiest sign in the Zodiac, Pisces, but if someone mentions something that strikes a chord with you — more often than not, it'll have to do with matters of the heart, dreams, or far-off goals — you can talk until you're blue in the face. It's just the process of pulling you out of your internal world that can be a challenge for others. You're a deep thinker, and prefer to keep those reflections to yourself most of the time. It's a rare Pisces who says everything that's on their mind.