If you're a late-January or early-to-mid-February baby, then your zodiac sign is Aquarius, the Water Bearer who is represented by the planet Uranus and the element air. Aquarius is known for being progressive, idealistic, intelligent, and highly creative—not to mention a little quirky! But there's a lot more to the Aquarius personality than just this, of course.
Read on to learn what this sign means and what the best and worst Aquarius traits are. We'll also go over how Aquarius fares in love and other relationships, what to do if you're an Aquarius, and how to relate to an Aquarius if you're not one.
What Is the Aquarius Sign in Astrology?
- Dates: January 20 to February 18 or January 21 to February 19
- Symbol: Water Bearer
- Planet: Uranus (originally Saturn)
- Element: Air
- Color: Light Blue
The 11th sign of the zodiac, Aquarius is represented by the Water Bearer, a symbol of the Gods bringing nourishment to Earth. People born under the Aquarius sign are said to be progressive, independent, intelligent, unique, and idealistic. Their elemental sign is air, the same as that for Gemini and Libra.
Like air, Aquarians don't have a single, clear shape and seem to defy categorization. While some Aquarians are quiet and gentle, others are exuberant and energetic. That said, even these two different types of people share many of the same inner qualities.
For one, Aquarius loves to spend time deep in thought, especially when it pertains to matters of society. The world is their oyster, and they want to do whatever they can to improve it and help others within it. This is where their humanitarian side comes into play; they long to initiate positive change, an essential quality of Uranus, the ruling planet of Aquarius.
Mental stimulation is one of the main keys to happiness for Aquarians. Without it, they quickly become bored and uninterested. They also need plenty of alone time to think and recharge.
Finally, being an Aquarius usually means being original and a little eccentric. It's not uncommon for Aquarians to embrace their creativity and uniqueness, even if it makes them stand out from others in a slightly odd or unconventional way. This quality tends to draw them toward anything new, interesting, or "out there," such as edgy fashion, sci-fi/fantasy, the avant-garde, and the latest technology.
Aquarians' idiosyncratic tastes and interests are perfectly encapsulated in the variety of colors and uses of the most common birthstone for Aquarians, the garnet (January's gemstone).
The 7 Best and Worst Aquarius Traits
It's hard to define the Aquarius personality because of how much this sign can vary. For the most part, though, Aquarians share certain key traits, some of which are good and some of which are not so good.
Here are the seven best and worst Aquarius characteristics.
The symbol of Aquarius
Positive Aquarius Traits
Aquarians are future-oriented people, often described as visionaries. They're also very intelligent and proudly original.
Perhaps the most prominent Aquarius trait is their ambitious vision, both for their future and the future of society. Aquarians are extremely progressive and seek to enact positive change in the world, often through generous humanitarian efforts, such as helping with the fight against climate change or figuring out ways to solve the world hunger crisis.
Though they can be a bit dogmatic in their beliefs sometimes, they really will do whatever it takes to see that the world becomes a better place.
Their compassion and strong sense of justice is what guides their actions and views. They also cherish freedom and aim to extend it to everyone.
If you've ever wondered who's going to change the world, my best guess would be an Aquarius!
Aquarius is a highly intelligent, cerebral sign that has a tendency to get lost in thought while analyzing something or trying to identify potential solutions to problems. They see possibility in everything and love to dissect it for as long as they can; this, in turn, makes them especially tolerant of other viewpoints.
Indeed, Aquarians are by and large big-picture thinkers and some of the best problem solvers. Sometimes they can get a bit distracted by their own thoughts, but overall they're great people to turn to if you want an unbiased, well-researched answer to an issue or question.
Those born under the Aquarius sign are typically some of the most unique and original people you'll ever meet—and they're proud to be, too!
Aquarians are famously innovative and aren't afraid to think outside the box when it comes to creative projects, business solutions, and so on. In fact, they pride themselves on being able to identify revolutionary ideas and approaches for making things—including society—better.
This originality extends to Aquarians' creative minds as well: many are devoutly artistic and love expressing themselves through pursuits such as painting and writing.
In their personal lives, Aquarians are often described as a little (or very) eccentric, but it's a label many, if not most, are willing to embrace. After all, ordinary is boring!
Negative Aquarius Traits
Now that we've gone over the best Aquarius traits, it's time to look at some of the worst.
Aquarians can come across as cold and insensitive due to their more pragmatic and less emotional way of looking at things. Their tendency to overanalyze detaches them from the world and those around them, causing others to feel uncomfortable with the Aquarian's rigid thought process.
For Aquarius, appearing impersonal or aloof can pose a large problem if the situation is serious or heavily emotions-bound. You don't want to accidentally distance important people from you!
Aquarius might be one of the more intelligent signs, but this proclivity for deep thinking can lead to condescension in some cases. Aquarians are often convinced that what they think must be right and that therefore everyone else is wrong.
Usually, an Aquarius is completely unaware that they're talking down to someone because they truly believe their opinion is "fact." And once they've made up their mind, it can be difficult to change it.
Naturally, this trait can be a big source of frustration for people who are trying to propose solutions or exchange ideas with an Aquarius, as it makes them feel intellectually inferior and like less of an equal.
#3: Overly Idealistic
Though being a visionary is one of the best Aquarius characteristics, it's also one of their downfalls. Why? When Aquarians become too idealistic, they often find themselves believing that nothing less than perfect will do—and this can lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, and even depression when they fail to reach this lofty, at times impossible standard.
In many cases, this idealism causes Aquarians to be self-righteous and even a little delusional when it comes to what they can practically do.
The Aquarius sign is all about change, usually change for the better—but occasionally this quality can manifest as unpredictability. Aquarians might generally come across emotionless, but this is because they tend to release their emotions (read: anger) in quick, sudden bursts that seemingly come out of nowhere.
This bad temper is a problem for many Aquarians, especially those who face a lot of pressure in their lives, including from themselves. Aquarius doesn't like to be emotionally vulnerable, so when something really riles them up, it's typically a result of several different things compiled over time.
Aquarius Characteristics in Love, Friendship, and Business
Aquarians might seem insensitive at times, but they're actually quite compassionate and sympathetic toward others, mainly the people closest to them. Here, we look at how Aquarius fares in love, family and friendship, and business.
Aquarius in Love
In a romantic relationship, Aquarius is all about intellectual stimulation. You need to be able to engage in complex, interesting conversations with an Aquarius in order to get them romantically interested in you. While for some the way to the heart is through the stomach, for Aquarius it's through the brain!
Aquarians long for relationships that value not only a mental connection, but also honesty and independence. As the Aquarius sign can be a bit of a loner, they will give their partner the same sense of independence, always treating them as their equal and respecting their boundaries. When it comes to love, Aquarians are generally committed for life and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of their relationship.
One thing to look out for is Aquarius's unrelenting anger should they be betrayed. Cross them, and the relationship will likely end right then and there! Don't expect forgiveness from an Aquarius.
Aquarius in Family and Friendship
Aquarians are extremely devoted to family and friends and cherish, above all, honesty, intellect, and creativity in those dear to them. They are often willing to risk everything for the sake of their family.
In terms of friendship, Aquarians are usually quite popular, with lots of friends and acquaintances, due to their collaborative way of viewing the world. Sometimes their slightly condescending, self-righteous attitude can make people uncomfortable, but for the most part, Aquarians are fun, quirky, and easy to get along with.
Because Aquarians dislike being emotionally vulnerable, it can be challenging for them to make close friends. It takes time for Aquarius to feel truly connected to somebody on an emotional and intellectual level. However, once you've successfully befriended an Aquarius, they'll be one of your most reliable pals.
Aquarius in Business
When it comes to work, Aquarians are all about showcasing their imaginative abilities and unique skills, typically in a conscious effort to make the world a better place.
They love exercising their talents and intellect and thrive in environments wherein they can propose ideas, help others, and be relentlessly creative. They do well in group projects but want clear recognition for their contributions.
Due to their humanitarian quality, Aquarians thrive in jobs that allow them to see their positive effect on the world around them. Moreover, their passion for knowledge makes them ideal candidates for careers in discovery-oriented fields, such as astronomy and tech jobs.
Here are some examples of occupations that work well for Aquarius:
- Computer programmer
- Environmental engineer
- Political activist
- Social worker
- Teacher or professor
Advice for the Aquarius Sign
Not all Aquarius traits will apply to you, so you'll need to figure out which ones do. Once you've done that, you can start thinking about how to best utilize your strengths and begin improving your weaknesses.
For example, if you consider yourself a visionary but aren't sure how you'd like to effect positive change in the world, you could try volunteering at a local charity or organization. Small steps like this should help you start to see what kinds of activities you enjoy and which give you the most satisfaction when it comes to feeling as though you're an advocate for something.
You could also draft a list of the causes you're most passionate about and then use this as a jumping-off point to explore potential ways you could support these causes.
Or maybe you feel that you're artistic and original but have been dealing with a bout of writer's block recently. That's OK—it happens to everyone, Aquarius or not!
To help you get your creative juices flowing again, set a schedule in which you'll write creatively for, say, 20 minutes every morning before school or work, even if all you're doing is writing about your day or something mundane. Before long, the very act of writing routinely should help you rekindle that spark you lost.
In terms of the negative Aquarius characteristics, if you've been told you're cold and insensitive, try working on relating to others and getting in touch with your emotions. Meditation is a great skill to learn and an easy way to help you build a stronger connection with your inner self.
If you've always had a short fuse, teach yourself to breathe and walk away first. It helps to get in the habit of doing short deep-breathing exercises every day; this way you'll have a skill to turn to whenever you feel like blowing up at something (or someone).
How to Get Along With an Aquarius
Aquarians are friendly and enjoy engaging in conversation with others, but they can take a long time to really open up emotionally to people. So if you're trying to befriend an Aquarius, know that it'll take a while to get to know them beyond their intellect and outward quirkiness.
The best way to engage an Aquarius is through their mind, so try to find common ground you can discuss, such as a shared interest in technology or art. Once you've become friends, Aquarians will be loyal and cherish you as a person, just as long as you don't betray them (they're not ones to easily forgive!).
It's important to always respect Aquarians' need for independence and alone time. This rule applies in every situation, whether you're a romantic partner, family member, or friend. Remember that Aquarius deeply values freedom, so being alone at times can be as necessary for them as is eating and sleeping.
If an Aquarius wants to be alone, don't take it personally—it's simply who they are! This craving for independence could sometimes manifest as the need to hermit themselves for a few days or even take a solo trip somewhere (Aquarians love to travel).
Hoping to ask out an Aquarius on a date? Some great places to take them where they'll be most comfortable are museums, observatories, plays, book readings—any place that appeals to their creative and intellectual mindset.
Finally, if you're hoping to get along with an Aquarius, you must be willing to embrace their quirks. Aquarians pride themselves on their originality and creativity and therefore don't want to be friends or partners with anyone who might criticize them or try to change their method of self-expression.
Curious about which signs work best with an Aquarius? Dive into our detailed analysis of Aquarius compatibility to learn more.
While there isn't a perfect overlap, many Aquarians have personality traits and outlooks on life similar to those outlined in the Enneagram Type 5 personality. Learn more about the Enneagram and what your Enneagram is (if it's not Enneagram Type 5) with our guides.
Not an Aquarius? We've got you covered with our complete collection of zodiac articles. Find out what it means if you're a Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, or Capricorn.
Want to learn about the zodiac as a whole? Our in-depth guide to the zodiac symbols tells you everything you need to know about what these unique signs symbolize and how they came to be.
Looking for some random, interesting facts? Then check out our huge compilation of 100+ fun facts to share with others.
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.