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Cancer Zodiac Sign Personality Traits and Characteristics

They lead with their intuition and experience intense emotions.

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Born between June 21 and July 22? Congrats, you’re a Cancer, one of the coolest cats in the zodiac. Intuitive, loyal, and sensitive, Cancers make steadfast friends, attentive partners, and gifted psychics. That’s right — Cancers are said to be one of the most mystical signs of the Zodiac, capable of reading a room’s energy and gifted at following their intuition. They also have a slight reputation for being overly sensitive, but don’t listen to the haters — they’re just jealous of Cancer’s emotional depth. Keep reading for a summary of Cancer personality traits and an assessment of the fourth sign of the zodiac’s key characteristics.

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What element are Cancers?

For those new to astrology, here’s a quick overview: There are twelve signs in the Zodiac, each corresponding to approximately thirty days of the calendar. The day of the year you were born dictates the astrological sign that governs your behavior. For example, birth chart dates from June 21 to July 22 are Cancer. This is because the sun is in Cancer at this time.There are several other factors to consider — the positioning of the sun, moon, and all the planets at the moment you were born all play a role in determining your full natal chart — but for now, we’ll stick with your sun sign.

Each sign corresponds with one of the four elements. There are air signs, water signs, earth signs, and fire signs. Cancer is a water sign, meaning they lead with their intuition, tend towards creativity, and experience intense emotions. They get along best with fellow water signs Scorpio and Pisces, and they have strong imaginations and vibrant internal lives. This also means they do best when allowed to recharge with alone time, preferably at home. Picture a crab, exploring the ocean floor before retreating back into its shell. That imagery is Cancer to a tee. Thus, it makes perfect sense that their symbol is a crab.

What are the personality traits of a Cancer?

Cancers are known for being moody and artistic deep thinkers. They’re deeply loyal and often described as givers. However, like all water signs, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye.

Sensitive

Cancers are sensitive souls who empathize with everyone around them and feel their emotions DEEPLY. They’re able to read a room in seconds and intuit peoples’ moods with ease. Looking for a shoulder to cry on? Choose a Cancer, and they’ll likely end up in tears, too — they just can’t help themselves from feeling what you’re feeling. Cancers are strongly connected to the moon, which explains their empathetic, caregiver loyalties. The moon has long been associated with femininity, governing the maternal, reflective sides as well as the unconscious. It’s thanks to the moon that Cancers are so in touch with the waxing and waning of emotions buried deep inside us all — emotions other signs might not even notice. These traits are especially likely to blossom as Cancer matures and grows increasingly introspective and thoughtful.

One of the tough parts of being a Cancer is how easy it is to let emotion dictate life. Watch an emotional video of a lost dog reuniting with its owner? Cancer might be teary-eyed and sniffling for the rest of the day. Assuming reign over their feelings without snuffing them out entirely is perhaps Cancer’s greatest challenge. Luckily, there are steps Cancer can take to strike a balance between their rich internal life and reality. Journaling is one highly recommended therapy. Cancers are more likely than most to benefit from the meditative state created by journaling, and it’s a great way to process deeply-felt emotions without letting them take charge of the day. Meditation itself is another great idea since the point of the practice is to release oneself from thought in the pursuit of peace. If you’re a Cancer, whatever works for you is okay — just find something that helps, and stick with it.

Caregivers

One of the side effects of being ruled by the maternal moon is that Cancers can’t help but step into the caretaker role for those around them. One of their biggest priorities is making sure that the people they care about are comfortable and happy, even if it comes at the expense of their own comfort. Cancers express love through quality time and gestures of kindness, whether that means delivering a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup to a sick friend or calling a loved one going through a hard time. As meaningful as these gestures are to the recipient, they’re equally as rewarding for the Cancer performing them.

An important side note for any Cancer reading this (as well as friends of Cancers): It’s extremely easy for the compassionate Crab to give TOO much — to pour so much into caring for friends and family that they don’t have sufficient energy for themselves. After all, Cancers are homebodies; they need time to recharge and chill out at home, and it can be really easy for them to forget this. Taking care of others requires taking care of yourself first, so remember to take the time needed to recharge, whether that means going for a walk, pursuing a new hobby, or just hanging out at home and doing nothing all day.

Enigmatic

Easy as it may be to know what Cancer is feeling at any given moment (as water signs, they wear their hearts on their sleeves), it can be surprisingly difficult to predict where their mood is headed. Cancers are known for being enigmatic and moody, often jumping from joy to sadness to nostalgia to excitement in the span of an hour or two. Like the waves of the ocean, emotions approach and retreat in the blink of an eye. This can be difficult to deal with, both as a Cancer and as an outsider trying to make sense of your friend’s feelings.

A helpful tip for managing these mercurial emotions is finding a fresh perspective. Walking in nature, journaling, and exercising are all great ways to corral intense feelings. When they threaten to bubble over, remind yourself that no feeling is permanent; that feelings come and go, just like the phases of the moon. Find a strategy that works for you, and don’t forget to communicate it to your loved ones, who may be confused or overwhelmed by your shifting moods.

Loyal

Picture the most loyal friend you have. She’d do anything for you: provide a shoulder to cry on, let you raid her closet, or come over and watch sappy rom-coms at a moment’s notice. Odds are, she’s a Cancer. With their naturally giving nature and sentimental spirit, it’s easy for Cancers to latch onto good friends and not let go, just like the crabs that symbolize them. Cancers make steadfast companions, loyal partners, and the best support system one could want. The friendship and compassion you’ll receive from Cancer are unmatched by any other sign, even wise Pisces. Once you’ve gained a Cancer’s trust, you’ve got it for life.

Of course, such overwhelming loyalty has its downsides, too — if you’re someone who needs a lot of space, you may feel overwhelmed by steadfast Cancer. They want to be by your side through every up and down. However, what might sometimes be comforting can also be cloying. If this is the case with you and Cancer, remember that communication is key. Be honest and let them know how you’re feeling. They’ll be happy to give you some space — a Cancer’s number-one priority is to be the best friend possible, including when that means backing off for a minute.

Make the Best of a Cancer Friendship

It’s true that Cancers can be moody and needy, but that’s the cost of being so attuned to the needs of others. They care deeply and want to be there for  loved ones no matter what. That loyalty and compassion is a rare gift — so appreciate the Cancers in your life, and know that they’re always on your side.

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