All About Aquarius: Dates, Personality Traits, and Compatibilities of the Innovative Zodiac Sign

Photo: Stocksy / Kike Arnaiz
If you ask an astrologer, aliens aren’t little green martians looking down upon us from UFOs; they’re actually right here on Earth, walking among us, leading similar lives as the rest of us. Try to blend in as they may, they can’t help but stand out—their futuristic styles and sensibilities give them away. I'm describing, of course, the traits of the Aquarius signs among us!

Aquarius gets a reputation for being eccentric for a reason: They tend to think outside the box, thanks to their rulership by the renegade planet Uranus. But that's certainly not their only or even necessarily their defining personality trait.

Experts In This Article

As the zodiac sign symbolized by the water bearer, Aquarius is also associated with humanitarian energy. The water bearer is a mythological healer thought to supply water—and, in turn, life—to the world. (You'll notice that the Aquarius symbol looks like two squiggly lines meant to reflect waves.) And like the water bearer, Aquarius is concerned with supporting the greater good.

You wouldn't be blamed for thinking the element of Aquarius would be water, but in fact, Aquarius is an air sign... which makes sense when you consider the fact that air is a necessary force to make waves, and that's exactly what Aquarius is here to do. “The air element really works with intellect, flow, and movement,” explains astrologer Corina Crysler. Add in Aquarius's fixed modality, which reflects a tendency toward conviction and perseverance, and it's no wonder they tend to hold strong opinions about the things they know and love.

Aquarius beats to the rhythm of their own drum, says astrologer and life coach Natha Campanella. For example, just consider famous Aquarians Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Harry Styles, Alicia Keys, Evan Peters, Mariska Hagitay, and Jeremy Allen White: Each is so different from the rest, and yet they are similar in their inherent individualism.

While it can be hard to fully get Aquarians and their distinctive vibe, learning the basic traits of Aquarius is a good start. And believe us, you’ll want to—their energy is out of this world. H-Town hottie and Aquarius mother to all Megan Thee Stallion put it best: “Aquarians are definitely underrated.”

Aquarius Dates

As the 11th sign of the zodiac, Aquarius is preceded by Capricorn and followed by Pisces. If your birthday falls between January 20 and February 18, your sun sign (aka the zodiac sign you'd read a horoscope for) is in Aquarius, since the sun travels through the sign during this timeframe each year (give or take a day or two in either direction).

According to one astrological school of thought, Aquarian characteristics may also extend to those born on the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp or Aquarius-Pisces cusp (aka, the days on either end of the sign's season), notwithstanding a few key differences. Those born on the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp, for instance, are “more grounded and slightly less rebellious than their late-degree Aquarius counterparts,” astrologer Stefanie Iris Weiss previously told Well+Good, whereas “Aquarians born near the Pisces cusp can’t help but connect to others soul-to-soul, even if they’d rather keep their hearts free of messy commitments.”

All of that aside, it's worth noting that you can have an Aquarius sun sign and not totally vibe with all the Aquarius traits; your sun sign is a key aspect of your astrological identity, but it's certainly not the only factor determining what makes you you. Every part of your natal chart—not just the sun's location—sheds light on a different aspect of your personality (you can find yours by using an online generator like this one).

That means, even if your natal sun is in Aquarius, your moon, for example, could be in another sign like Virgo, and perhaps you relate more to that sign. Or, on the flip side, you could feel like the Aquarius traits below totally describe you even if your sun sign isn't in Aquarius—because your moon sign may very well be.

Overall, if you have an Aquarius placement in any of your astrological “big three”—your sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign—chances are you'll identify with some of the water bearer’s most notable personality traits.

Aquarius Personality Traits

Aquarius is associated with the 11th house in astrology, which governs friendship, community, and humanity. (Remember the symbolism of the water bearer?) In turn, they tend to lead lives and have careers oriented around promoting some kind of progress for humanity—even (and, in fact, especially) if they have to go against the status quo to do so.

In no uncertain terms, Aquarius is the rebel of the zodiac: They are fiercely independent and prefer doing things their way. Respecting an Aquarius’s independence is essential for getting along with them, says psychic reader and astrologer Emily Newman. The sign also values freedom—and often, this includes personal space to explore their interests and passions. “Trying to control or restrict them can lead to conflict and tension in the relationship,” she says.

“Aquarius are known for their intelligence, analytical abilities, and love of learning.” —Emily Newman, astrologer and psychic reader

As one of the cerebral air signs, Aquarius is also often in their own head. “They are known for their intelligence, analytical abilities, and love of learning,” says Newman. In turn, Aquarians typically enjoy interacting with individuals who can flex their intellectual muscles and keep the conversation going, and more than anything, they value authenticity and honesty.

To sum it up, here are the most notable traits of Aquarius:

  • Rebellious
  • Humanitarian at heart
  • Inventive and innovative
  • Independent
  • Open-minded
  • Eccentric in their interests

What are Aquarius strengths?

Aquarians are like Ferris Bueller in that they can typically do something that breaks the established "rules"—like skip class for a day or go on a spontaneous adventure—and get away with it. Usually, however, their rebellion comes with a purpose: They're known to bravely challenge outdated rules of society.

Aquarius is also optimistic in regard to their idealized version of society and the world, and they walk the walk, actually participating in the activism and social-justice efforts necessary to strike change. “Aquarians feel an innate responsibility to help people, and have a problem with authority being misused,” says Crysler.

Because Aquarians can also digest information faster than many, they tend to have mentally involved careers, says Campanella. “We’re talking scientists or people in the public eye who can bring attention to structural problems, big and small,” she says.

Fittingly, another Aquarius strength is their ability to see the big picture and not get hung up on the tiny details. This lends a hand to their natural intuition, says Crysler, who adds that “they have the innate ability to perceive what’s going to happen next.” As a result, they tend to be ahead of the curve: “They’re change-making and taste-making and breaking up the boring,” says Newman.

What are Aquarius weaknesses?

Ever looked over to see a colleague or classmate staring into the abyss, daydreaming the hours away? This is a telltale weakness of Aquarius, who can get lost in their thoughts, overanalyzing and plotting. “Overthinking is a huge component of being an Aquarius,” Crysler says. “They have an overactive mind, so getting grounded on a daily level is important to avoid mental exhaustion.”

The same tendency to escape into their own thoughts can also lead Aquarius to act distant or aloof toward others, or to fail to take others' thoughts and feelings into account when making decisions.

Aquarius Likes and Dislikes

What makes an Aquarius happy?

There are few things that make Aquarius as happy as having the freedom and independence to explore their interests and passions. Humanitarians at heart, Aquarians are also incredibly passionate about fairness, and are happiest when they are making the world a better place for everyone, says Newman.

By a different token, Aquarius also loves to engage with friends in intellectual conversations and debate topics that really get them using their brain and thinking outside the box.

What annoys an Aquarius?

Conformists, naysayers, and sticks-in-the-mud, stay back. Aquarius loves to make waves and challenge the status quo, so stagnancy, close-mindedness, and outdated or ill-informed prejudice are among the things that annoy them the most.

Because of their inventive, cerebral nature, Aquarius also can’t stand being bored. According to Campanella, we can thank their planetary ruler Uranus for that one. “The planet rules electricity, so there’s this extra charge in an Aquarian’s nervous system,” she says. “Sitting around and doing nothing makes them feel like they’re stagnating, which is the antithesis of their whole life.”

Aquarius Compatibility With Other Zodiac Signs

It's important to note that astrological compatibility is contingent on so many factors beyond a person's sun sign: Just because someone’s sun sign is said to be compatible with your own doesn't mean they'll be your perfect match, nor is your relationship doomed if it's with someone who's sun sign isn't typically compatible with yours. After all, we all contain multitudes (see: your entire natal chart), and sun signs just brush the surface.

All of that said, there are certain personality traits that make som zodiac signs more compatible with Aquarius than others.

Which zodiac signs is Aquarius most compatible with?

Typically, fellow air signs Gemini and Libra will get along well with Aquarius, as they can intrinsically respect and understand the water bearer’s need for freedom and individuality, says Newman. In particular, Aquarius tends to enjoy Gemini's talkative, intellectually curious vibe, on the one hand, and Libra's justice-oriented passion for fairness and peace, on the other hand.

Aquarius is also often compatible with fire signs Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo. As one of the most independent signs of the zodiac, Aries's fiery energy can stimulate thought-provoking conversations with Aquarius. And when it comes to Sagittarius and Aquarius, both love freedom, independence, and the opportunity to expand their knowledge by way of new experiences.

While Aquarius and Leo are entirely opposite zodiac signs, if they manage to set their differences aside, they can bond over their key commonality: valuing their friendships and community.

Which zodiac signs is Aquarius least compatible with?

As an air sign, Aquarius tends to have their head in the clouds, often untethered from the intricacies of daily life and reality. This makes it difficult for them to get along with Earth signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, who use pragmatism and practicality to guide their decision-making process.

Similarly, Aquarius may have trouble getting along with water signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, all of whom tend to be emotionally sensitive and may find Aquarius's typical detachment from feelings a little unnerving. Water signs also crave deep, consistent connection—a desire that can make them seem clingy to Aquarius.

Aquarius in Love, Relationships, and Sex

Aquarius can be exciting, unconventional, and at times, unpredictable in romantic relationships, says Newman. As they are the sign of friendship, society, and community, “most Aquarians start out being friends with romantic partners first,” says astrologer Constance Stellas.

Unsurprisingly, Aquarius often does well in romantic situations that skew non-traditional, like being in a long-distance relationship or having a separate bedroom from their significant other. “They bring an element of newness into the idea of what a relationship can look like because they don’t necessarily abide by the typical rules of romance,” says Campanella.

In some cases, Aquarians can have a hard time committing. (Remember the freedom thing?) Once you’ve earned their trust and loyalty, though, they’re very loving—so long as their need for independence is still respected, says Crysler.

Fostering a deep connection with Aquarius can be difficult, considering they have a reputation of being emotionally detached. “Aquarius isn’t an intimate sign,” says Stellas, “but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any feelings.” Aquarians have big hearts, and they can appreciate a partner who offers them the love that they put out into the world.

“Aquarius isn’t an intimate sign, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any feelings.” —Constance Stellas, astrologer

When it comes to sex, “Aquarius is the most experimental of the signs,” says Weiss, adding that their open-minded nature makes them great partners with whom to explore new kinks and fantasies. Given their associated with Uranus, which rules over technology, Aquarius also loves to play with new sex toys and innovative forms of stimulation, adds Weiss, like audio erotica.

Aquarius in Work and Career

Off-the-beaten-track Aquarius does best in work environments that allow them to use their innovative edge. “They thrive in careers providing intellectual stimulation, personal freedom, and opportunities to pursue their ideas and passions,” says Newman, adding that they will be all the more satisfied and fulfilled in careers that also let them put their humanitarianism to good use and have a positive impact on society.

What are the best careers for Aquarius?

Careers that involve directly helping people, like social work, counseling, foreign aid, and nonprofit coordination are a clear fit for the society-minded sign, as are those careers whose effects on humankind are less direct, like journalism, environmental protection, and advocacy work.

In addition, Newman says that Aquarians can make waves in the fields of science, psychology, and art. Because Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet associated with technology and invention, they tend to fare especially well in careers that revolve around the internet, graphic design, product innovation, and artificial intelligence .

And thanks to their highly independent and freedom-loving nature, Aquarius is an ideal fit for entrepreneurial pursuits, adds Newman. Unlike with Capricorn, though, it won’t be the financial prospects or public notoriety that’ll inspire them to create their own business; they’re more likely to start a company because they believe it’ll benefit others.

What are the worst careers for Aquarius?

Careers that stifle creativity or innovative thinking won’t just be a challenge for Aquarius—they have the potential to be soul-crushing. “Aquarius needs to be stimulated mentally, so if they’re bored at their job, the job won’t work,” says Crysler. For that reason, Aquarius will struggle with careers that are routine-heavy or involve repetitive tasks, like data entry, project managing, and accounting.

Aquarius in Friendships

While notoriously unemotional, Aquarians can be loyal, committed, and supportive friends once they form a deep connection. As the rebellious humanitarians of the zodiac, “Aquarians appreciate individuals willing to take action and make a difference in their own ways,” says Newman, and typically, they'll bond with friends over shared passions and interests.

The cerebral air sign also tends to seek pals who can engage them in thought-provoking conversations—and while they enjoy the stimulation of these intellectual discussions and debates, they like to maintain a keen sense of humor, too. “Joining in on their jokes and humor can help build a solid and positive friendship with an Aquarius,” says Newman.

Aquarius in Family Dynamics

Aquarius’s eccentricity is what makes them interesting and unique, but that same offbeat nature can lead them to struggle with feelings of otherness in a family setting. They may feel misunderstood by the people who ostensibly "know them best"—particularly if their life path has taken them against the grain of family tradition—and wind up being the wallflower at family functions. Celebrating their differences will go a long way in terms of helping them feel more connected to their relatives.

According to Newman, Aquarius notoriously dislikes things that are routine, traditional, and conformist. As a result, they tend to resist rules that they perceive as limiting or that don't seem to serve a purpose... which could lead Aquarius children to butt heads with parents whose style is to implement rules "because I said so."

Advice for Aquarius

In order to thrive, Aquarius will need to address their personal weaknesses with the same fervor that they do humanitarian issues. “Aquarius individuals face unique challenges and growth opportunities due to their unconventional nature and curious intellect,” says Newman.

For one, they can struggle to “fit in” with society, as they have non-conformist attitudes and interests, says Newman. Because they are more cerebral than they are emotional, Newman also says that they can have issues with intimacy and vulnerability, and at times, wind up distancing themselves from others to the point of feeling isolated.

It can help for Aquarius to focus on cultivating emotional intelligence, so that they can form the deep connections that they truly crave and find their community of people who really get them. From there, they'll be better positioned to make the positive change that they seek to make, says Newman, and let their “unique sense of creativity and inventiveness really shine.”

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