My First Impression Is Off-Putting

chart11Dear Elsa,

I’ve noticed all my life people have found me difficult to talk to when they first meet me. I’ve had all sorts of comments about their first impressions of me such as: intimidating, analytical, player, unapproachable. Could you please tell me why?

I’ve also noticed that I’m deeply emotional to a ridiculous degree, but I always appear icy cold on the surface. I really want to be able to have better interpersonal skills so that I’m less misunderstood. Could you please advise on how I could resolve this? Thanks a lot.

United Kingdom

Dear Taurean,

I am throwing this up as an open question because it hits so close to home. I have a similar problem in that I am constantly grinning which may seem far less problematic but I would not be so sure. In your case, people reject you based on a first impression and in my case I am also rejected, once people discern I am not the grinning fool I appear to be and that they wanted to know.

As for the astrology, your problem is clearly shown in your chart. A person’s first handshake is shown by the ascendant and with Saturn and Pluto conjunct yours… intimidation is the word of the day. And I am hoping someone around here might have some insight for you. For example someone might come along and tell you how your chart will progress and your problem will resolve but this has not been my experience. I am still grinning, see? I have no way to not grin when I meet someone, even though I may be thinking or feeling who knows what. So I will advise you based on this.

I think that knowing you radiate this energy you can try to mitigate it and you may or may not be successful. For example, try not to stare. When you “look at someone” I would not be surprised if it were perceived as a glare or a stare or a person passing judgment. Knowing this you can concentrate and train yourself to break your gaze when you meet someone new. Now I don’t meet pervert your energy and I have an analogy to illustrate.

I am Italian and I have a loud voice. Knowing I have a loud voice… my voice BOOMS out, I can try to talk quietly when meeting someone new. This does not mean I will not revert back to my regular voice but you see what I am getting at. Perhaps when I do, the new person will have had some time to get used to me and not be as terrified.

As for your relationships, obviously you are going to have to be with someone who adores, respects and admires your presence so please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you. I just want to offer you something as concrete as possible and this is it:

You are what you are and you will put some people off the same way I am going to attract people who ultimately won’t like me at all. But as you get older, with a little luck you will begin to really appreciate the individual you are, (perceived) warts and all.  Because the fact you are a person of quality is shown by the fact you asked this question.

In other words, you and I can try to improve if we like but bottom line, it is okay for you to have an pronounced presence;  just as it is okay for me to be a loud Italian.

Good luck.

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34 thoughts on “My First Impression Is Off-Putting”

  1. It might help to tell him that the Ascendant is the face we show to the world, the personality. He has some intense stuff going on there, with Pluto/Saturn in Scorpio. And the moon in Cap, there’s some icy & analytical for you.

    Meanwhile this emotional fellow has Taurus Sun, and a stellium in the house of relationship, the 7th, so yes, he’d like to relate better. I can’t see the posted chart well, it’s too small, so I can’t see what the other planets are there. I can’t tell if Venus is in the 7th or 8th (can’t tell Venus & Merc apart on this chart).

    I would think he could create a really lovely, warm, inviting home, a very Taurean thing. And dress in a beautiful way, take really good care of his appearance. Taureans can do all that. That might soften the impression he gives. If he cares about someone, he could try to show the soft side in Taurean-Venusian ways.

    But…that intensity is there. Awareness is the first step, and just knowing it’s a “given” is a way to begin to address it, and use it. It’s there for a reason. What tasks are in his life require that “face”?

  2. Taurean,
    I also have Pluto rising from the 12th house, and Elsa is absolutely right to advise you not to stare! I’ve been told my stare is intimidating, and as a child, my stare used to unnerve my teachers. I’ve since learned to make my eyes go “soft”. It’s something I learned from working around horses, because they are so sensitive to body language and mannerisms.

    In her book, “Centered Riding,” Sally Swift explains soft eyes.
    “Focus very intently on one thing…keep looking intently at the object. Concentrate on its exact outlines, its shape, density color. This is the use of what I call hard eyes. Now relax your eyes. Let the object be the general center of your gaze, but look at it with your peripheral vision taking in the largest possible expanse, above and below as well as to the left and right. Be aware of the whole wide world…have the feeling of going within yourself as your eyes encompass everything that comes into your field of vision. Remember that you are still aiming at the central object. This is what I call soft eyes.”

    She further explains that when you use hard eyes, you are so focused that you don’t really see anything other than the object you are looking at. She writes, “using soft eyes is like a new philosophy. It is a method of becoming distinctly aware of what is going on around you, inside you. It includes feeling and hearing as well as seeing.”

    Try this out! It has really helped me with my staring problem!
    It’s odd, because I HATE being looked at. Since I live and work in NYC, it is difficult for me when I ride the subway, because I always irrationally feel that I am under scrutiny.
    Anyway, hope this helps!

  3. My partner has both these planets in 1st and yeah he has that stare thing too. When i first met him i found him hugely intimidating and yet in reality he’s a softy (cancer moon). It took ages to break through that defensive veneer. He’d just look at me with those eyes and i hadnt a clue what he was thinking and projected alot of suspicion onto him. To me being open equalled honesty so what was he hiding y’know. Turns out he’s not hiding, he’s just shy and awkward and beacuse he finds it hard to let others in to meet the real him they project onto him which then pisses him off. Catch 22. For him he leads a quiet life and thats the way he likes it. He’s certainly happier partnered (libra rising) and maybe this guy with his 7th house activity will be too once someone worthy has crossed the boundary. Maybe he needs someone martian to bring him out of his shell (my guy has mars ruling his 7th and our constant sparring has i believe helped him come out of his a little).

  4. “I’ve had all sorts of comments about their first impressions of me such as: intimidating, analytical, player, unapproachable.”

    It has been my experience that if you don’t provide people with “enough” information (i.e. what they think is enough), they will fill in the blanks themselves. This usually says more about them than about the person they’re trying to figure out.

  5. I’m a Taurus as well with the same problem. I’ve accepted that intimidation is always the first impression with me for perceptive people (and the not-so-perceptive ones think I’m simply a perky gal with a plastered smile). I’ve learned to use it to my benefit. I can also downgrade the intensity when needed. I’ve yet to find a good balance between sweet and dull-brained and intimidating hard-ass upon first meeting, but it’s something I’m working on. BTW, I’m a Scorp rising, so that’ll do her. 😉 Just keep the faith that you will intrigue people enough to know more, then they get to see the soft side of you and wonder why they ever felt intimidated.

  6. Alma: I feel the same way! I am also in NYC and always on the trains and HATE being looked at and somehow always feel that I am! (Or am I the one who is staring? I can’t tell….)

  7. As a woman with Scorpio rising, I have found it helpful to do off-putting in certain situations. However, I have Venus in the first so it’s easy to do charming too.

    A couple of other notes on his chart. He has Mars/Mercury widely conjunct in Taurus, so he’s probably stubborn as a rock when he makes up his mind, the North Node in Gemini conjunct Venus in Gemini (Venus rules his Sun in Taurus) suggests make a special effort to get in touch with his softer side will be very beneficial. And last, but not least, he has his Saturn Return coming up and often this event does wonders for helping us make changes!

  8. I do agree with the others here. That Pluto Saturn up front is definitely going to make you seem unapproachable or cold/stern– Even powerful (and that scares others). People are going to see that Pluto, see that Saturn and.. well… you’ve experienced it so I don’t have to tell you.

    My advice might sound stupid but it works for me when I do it. Not only not stare, but you must remember to smile lightly at people. Have to be conscious of it. Super-conscious of it. Think about how your face naturally is… the expressions you normally have…. Even if they don’t seem overly serious to you, they probably do to others–

    You don’t need to change how you are. But I think a little bit of conscious manipulation (from you) can help how people respond/react to you– If you soften your appearance. And smiling is an amazingly effective way to do that.

    It sounds silly, but I swear: try it.

    As for being emotional: you have all these planets in water houses! And your North Node in the 8th– whatever else you have going on, the sensitivity/emotionality is going to be there. Your duty-bound, reserved Capricorn moon might not be so comfortable with all that flow (not even looking at aspects).

    Well, there’s more to say, but I’m going to get back to my soup.

  9. Moonpluto, it’s strange how living in a big city makes me feel completely anonymous, yet also scrutinized. I’ve developed such a protective shield since moving here – I am oblivious to everyone on the train or street – I don’t even notice friends frantically calling my name!

  10. My last boyfriend and my current boyfriend both have Scorpio ascendant conjunct Saturn and Pluto (and one was an earth sun sign like you, Taurean). They are both wonderful people, but can intimidate folks who don’t know them. Just the nature of the ascendant. But, you see… some women loooove that. Like me.

    Your moon (emotion) is in Capricorn (repression), so I think that might explain a lot about why you are concerned about being emotional to a “ridiculous” degree. Honey, if you want to get some control over your emotions, you can’t blame yourself for being human (a common problem among both Caps and Scorps, and something your language seems to indicate). To do that you have to not disassociate yourself from whatever you’re feeling, but allow yourself to be in it and from that vantage point, understand it. Know that your chart indicates a lot of intense energy and that it’s never going to go away, but you can work with those energies to create many powerful experiences for yourself and others.

    If you do that, you’ll be surprised by what you then understand about other people, and how much better your interpersonal skills will be.

  11. Hee, another Taurus with Scorpio rising (heck, I’m like a degree off ascendants from you) here. I don’t get complains about my STARE or anything, but I have had people say stuff to me on occasion that I was looking “mean.” I distinctly remember that on one occasion where I was cited as looking “mean,” I was thinking, “Hey, the new catalog came out!” So really, my face-on-neutral gets interpreted in different ways, regardless of what I’m intending. (I’ve tried to make “mean” faces in the mirror, and I don’t know where they are getting it. My face is too fat and round and innocent to do “mean,” really. Even trying to give a murderous glance at a mirror looks silly on me.) As for me on the phone, certain people think I sound quite bitchy, even when I don’t intend to be. I have Uranus rising rather than Saturn/Pluto- don’t know how to factor that one in.

    I think you might just have to “fake friendly.” Smile big and cheesy like Elsa when you have to meet someone, try to sound Perky!, etc. Eventually the real you will come out, but at least you got past the door, as Elsa suggested.

  12. Taurus, Scorpio rising #? Here… I’m like Lexie in that I project either kinda sweet and stoopid, or scary and smart. (one gal assumed I was retarded, at first, which she didn’t tell me for a long time, then she decided I was a genius, albeit one pretending to be retarded. SIGH.)

    What to do? IDK, but I just decide, quickly, upon meeting a person whether it is more important to exude sweetness or intelligence, and then deal with the misperceptions later. One thing I like about being online is that it bypasses the facial expression problem.

  13. Alma: I take in that city energy and it makes me sick. Have to try hard to shield. This city is crazy!!

    When I first came here I thought I would feel anonymous but I don’t, at all. Maybe because I don’t live in Manhattan….

  14. I’m also a Taurus Sun/Cap Moon and have had the same problem as Jennifer “Oh you look maaaad” coupled with the fact that I have a 1st House Moon and 12th House Neptune so people love telling me what I am.
    I get “You’re so sweet” “You’re scary” “You’re so together” “You’re flaky and all over the place”
    On and on and on.
    My first instinct is to agree with whoever said “smile a little.”
    And I don’t mean *grin* I just mean, loosen your Taurus jaw and lift the muscles up that make you smile, meaning eyes, brow, jaw…don’t worry about the mouth.

    I just checked out my *smile* and it had me right where I am feeling: neutral. It’s funny to smile and not have a smile, but whatever.

    Wow writing this makes me feel a little crazy on the inside, go figure.

  15. Cheesy like a good, tangy queso dip! Better, E? 😛

    My man has Scorp rising with Mars-Venus-Uranus conjunct from the 12th, and he gets the intimidating thing aaalllll the time. I don’t understand it, either. 🙂
    But he does look intense. He’ll be off daydreaming and one would swear he’s dissecting one’s outfit/haircut (he’s a Libra, so people automatically assume he’s judging their fashion sense) when he’s really thinking about how to protect himself from zombies or what would happen if rabbits evolved thumbs or something.

    I like Kashmiri’s suggestion – observe your “neutral” face and see if you would think it was stern (or whatever) if you saw someone else with that expression. If so, find a way to soften it, whether by not laser-focusing on someone or smiling slightly, etc.
    And one other thing to ask yourself: if someone is intimidated by my exterior so much that they don’t want to get to know the real me, are they really worth the effort for me to change? Just a thought. 😉

  16. I’ve Scorp rising, Cap moon, Libra sun/venus/uranus, Sag neptune/jupiter conjunct AC opposition saturn. It’s easy for me to “be” whoever a person is expecting or wants temporarily but the natural me has been accused of being a controlling, unemotional (me???), determined and intimidating perfectionist. Thus I try extra hard to be laid back, nonjudgemental and feeling as it seems I’ve less leeway (or public forgiveness) in this arena than a lot of folks seem blessed with. Oh well, we all have challenges and gifts 🙂

  17. What Kharma said. I’ve got a similar chart and I really have to try to project a sympathetic facade. It doesn’t mean you have to be untrue to your feelings — just think of it as if others see you as a caricature of negativity. Just be mindful that you give off that impression, which I’m sure you feel is inaccurate. You need to be careful to dial it down so people can see the more nuanced truth behind that image.

  18. Great comment Stephanie! I definitely have to dial it down sometimes. It is intriguing to me the variety of impressions people have of themselves, others and me of course. There is that saying about , ‘Never trust a man until you have seen his house.’ but it is more than that it is we all know so little of other people except the people that are really close to us. Yet we do form those first impressions in ten seconds flat based on our six senses and of course the first words that fall from their mouth when we meet them for the first time.

    The try not to stare hits home too. I am so super friendly sometimes. [Cancer Moon, Pisces Rising, Mercury and Venus in Libra Sag mid heaven, conjunct Jupiter in Sag] That the sheer force of my friendliness and greet big wide open eyes. I just don’t realize it sometimes until I see my face in their mirror, which is they bug out there eyes like mine and I feel like some kind of Amphibian that they have just kissed to turn into a prince.[ Ok that was over the top.]

    And all that Libra bouncing around saying today you are talking too much or today you are talking too little. So now I am just going to stop and say.

    Dear Taurean, you have come to the right place. I am sure it will all work out!

  19. i’ve found just recognizing where i tend to project the “ice-cold bitch” and learn how to take it less seriously helps. though i think mine’s a mercury uranus cold (but that uranus is scorpio so *shrug*.)

    …and laughing at myself.
    ‘course a great deal of what seems to help the most is learning how to drop my armor a touch so i’m willing to engage more directly with people. not walling myself off.

    in this case… the third house (direct communication) has a capricorn moon. so expressionis hammered by a saturnine effect from there too, but cap has this amazing ability to find the humor in just about anything if they try to develop it. humor is a great ice breaker. i’m not sure how one would go about expressing through the moon but i’m sure it works as well as anything else. nurturing, of course, and capricorn can be darn good at that, in a not particularly cuddly way, but effective nonetheless. and expressing some of that can be really effective as a way to tone down certain responses to intensity.

    overall… take the time to grow into your skin 🙂

  20. anonymoushermit

    Rising signs I feel bad for.

    People think they’re snobby, or sharp: Virgo, Scorpio, and Capricorn risings.

    People think that they’re ‘simple-minded’, easy to take advantage of, or passive: Libra and Pisces risings.

  21. Deeply emotional is the crux of people’s difficulty with Scorpio. That in tense emotional social presentation is a real show stopper even if it’s so called sweet. It will eat up more air time on the stage of life than orator could wish for. Leaving the audience to say”what happened” when the show is over. It’s difficult as the Taurus simplicity is there. All the more reason to be aware of your power and need for it. Its just of a sensitive sort which combined with a lot if wisdom can be beautiful. Strive for wisdom in your relations is my advice and lay low as that just want to liked sweetness is holding a lot of power beneath the surface.

  22. I’ve been told I’m intimidating too, by a lot of people. I have Saturn close to my ascendant but it’s opposite Pluto. Just smile, smile at everybody, that has it’s problems too but it’s either that or scare people.

  23. Thank you for posting this question! I can relate. I have a lot of similarities in my chart. Scorpio rising, all my inner planets are in Taurus in the 7th house (stellium of Sun, Mercury, Mars, Venus and Chiron). I don’t have Pluto right on my ascendant BUT I do have Uranus there instead. Mostly I’m very noticeable whether I like it or not. I try to be extra gentle and careful in how I present myself and how I speak to people. Honestly, the best thing I can offer is that radical self love will radiate from you. Tap into your warm authentic self, love all of it and let that shine. The right people with get you.

  24. I don’t have a planet conjunct my ascendant. In this case asteroids can do the job too. I recently found #9885 Linux (1994 TM14) conjunct my ascendant. Do I resemble Linux? With bigger orb I also have #13070 Seanconnery (1991 RO2) conjunct my ascendant. Or perhaps aspects from planets are more important? Quinkunx from Uranus and square from Saturn. But there is a blog post (from Elsa) about Chiron conjunct the rising and this made me think that it is probably always best to look for any celestial objects conjunct the ascendant. Should only the tightest conjunction count, then I should be perceived as #399 Persephone (1895 BP). Her nickname Koré (little girl) in her tale can be misleading because Persephone translates actually as ‘the destroyer’ and she was indeed seen as the sinister queen of the underworld. Is this how you perceive me? Have you (all) already checked what is conjunct your ascendant? And do you think that you’re perceived accordingly? (I have to ask here because I have not enough friends, who would let me check their natal charts.)

  25. I too have grown to notice myself as beginning very soft to others
    Only sharing Me when courted very
    Directly into more truth.
    I need the strengths I’ve developed
    But I believe few could handle
    All I got,didn’t have backup or some
    Co-op so far and admit few would manage the tasks on my list; so loner? unicorn? Maybe?
    But the list grows as does my strength. I wait with baited breath as
    My future enters my view,I not sure if I try to tailor my person to be more
    Mainstream it’s good? I think I’d miss the true
    Crew I should be pulling the mainsheet with,sailing on, may what’s ahead reward you all with the feelings of strength and smiling is
    The way to start, for me too
    Here’s to smiles strength and maybe
    Half of those we meet taking a side step as our sail may hold too much
    For some to get in the way.

  26. A teacher in high school once called out my name while i was listening to her story and just paying attention. My response:”I didn’t do anything!” Her reply:” You’re staring at me. It makes me feel uncomfortable, so stop doing that.” Saturn conjunct the ascendant.

  27. Hey Taurean,
    I, too have Scorpio ascendant and Capricorn moon. Upon reading your letter to Elsa before even looking at your chart I thought “I bet they’re a Scorpio asc” and there you are! I don’t get told a lot that I’m intimidating or unapproachable but my mother told me that I was “intense” as a child, she still does sometimes, and a guy friend told me once that I was aloof and standoffish and I was like “what??” I’m an Aries sun and think of myself as warm and gregarious…but right, that first impression before someone knows you as your Sun can be like that.
    And the staring thing Maaike mentioned, if someone is talking, whether to me or to a group, I focus on them intently. I want someone to pay attention to me if I’m talking, right? This apparently unnerves some people. To me that’s their problem. I don’t have the Saturn and Pluto conjunct the ascendant, so maybe it’s even stronger in you, IDK. Good luck! Don’t change who you are, maybe being aware of this now you’ll tap into your warm side when people first meet you.

  28. Not to be underestimated as an off-putting factor is the moon in Capricorn. This is known as its ‘detriment’ placement because it is ‘at home’ in Cancer, the opposite sign. There is no ‘natural affinity’ between saturnine Capricorn and the spontaneous responsivity of the moon function. This placement makes people calculating in a way that seems cold. It also gives a ‘wicked’ sense of humor (Abe Lincoln, Dorothy Parker, Daniel Tosh, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Johnny Carson, Harvey Weinstein, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Eichmann, et al).

  29. I can relate in a way. With me, I look too open often (Sage rising and Neptune conj. Asc.) I find that when I’m warm, open, myself… My boundaries don’t come across and I have to quickly retreat to get them back or to be able to communicate in a way that feels safe to me. I’ve actually developed Taurean’s appearance (or how people see him) as a defense mechanism. I work hard at looking colder and much more distant.

    It’s hard (and tiring) to know you’re a certain way and not be able to have it come across right. That’s where my Neptune influence makes me say: adapt. Observe those who come across as you know you are. And then mimic. I’m not sure this would be everyone’s cup of tea (ha! Cuz you’re in the UK) and may seem like manipulation. It isn’t to me if it doesn’t imply lying as much as learning a way of communicating the truth. Also, realistically, you can only do that to a certain extent. Putting up a front (which it is I guess) is exhausting.

  30. A taurus with scorp rising. It reminds me when I first met one, they had a dark aura and seemed upset, almost mad about something. I don’t dismiss based on first impression. I am pinned as unfriendly or closed off with my cap rising and stellium and saturn in 1st house, and lilith(!) I understand the ‘treatment’. Even if I try to be approachable, on first sight it doesn’t go well. There was a new person on the block and this libra rising said ‘hi’ which was met with an enthusiastic response even if they never met. I said hello, I was met with silence and a very hostile glare, to this day I am still sensitive about not being treated fairly or like the rest. I’ve had many other encounters with the scorpio rising person. To this day, we still keep in contact. A scorp rising and a cap rising getting along, nothing surprising about that. ?

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