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Personality Traits of the Cancer Zodiac Sign

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.


Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac. People born under this sun sign (June 22 – July 21) are complex and unpredictable. Cancer is a water sign ruled by the moon, thus most of their lives wax and wane with the tides of life experiencing both good and bad times more intensely than others in the zodiac. Because their ruling element is water, they also tend to be highly intuitive and sometimes emotional.

They appear to be easy-going and for the most part, quiet and reserved, but do not underestimate the power of a Cancerian's unpredictable nature. They can also be quick-witted, grumpy and irritable. All zodiac signs have a display of duality but Cancerian's introverted nature creates a shield around them making their unpredictable nature fairly camouflaged.

Because Cancerians have a cardinal modality, they are often goal-oriented self-efficient self-starters and do not like to rely on anyone but themselves to accomplish these goals despite their own generosity and willingness to help others. However, they also find themselves in periods of self-doubt, especially in their younger years.

Quick Facts About Cancer

Birth Dates: June 21 - July 22

Symbol: Crab

Zodiac Modality: Cardinal

Ruling Element: Water

Ruling Planet: Moon

Ruling House: Fourth

Polarity: Negative, Receptive

Strengths and Weaknesses at a Glance

Strengths: Compassionate, Intuitive, Nurturing, Supportive, Unconditional Love

Weaknesses: Passive Aggressive, Moody, Unable to Let Go, Resentful

Very Intuitive

Cancerians will often see right through a person and instinctually know whether a person is genuine or fake, sincere or insincere. Those who are born in the Cancer zodiac sign detest rude and inconsiderate people. They typically steer clear of people who are self-centered and annoyingly boisterous.

Don't try to lie to a Cancerian. They will see right through your lies and deception, even if they won't always call you on it. Cancerians aren't easily manipulated and difficult to con.

Extremely Private

Most Cancerians are introverts who value their privacy. While they love being acknowledged and feeling appreciated, they do not like being the center of attention. They are shy and do not like talking about themselves. This makes them difficult for other people to read or figure out because Cancerians do not like people being to nosey or prying into their business, not matter how mundane. It is rare that someone in the Cancer zodiac to open up to someone. This is because they do not trust people very easily, thus it takes a while for them to let you into their inner circle of trust and friendship. This can make them seem stand-offish to those who do not know them that well.

If they are experiencing anger or sadness, Cancerians would prefer to seclude themselves until the feelings pass. If someone or a situation has made them angry, Cancerians will put up a barrier of walls to detach from the situation and the person or people involved. Those who are friends with Cancerians need to have patience and understanding when those of this sign shut down. Just give them time and space to sort through their emotions; that is just how they are.


Many Cancerians have an odd sense of humor. They may find something funny due to its irony, which may amuse them and confuse others at inappropriate times. Because Cancerians are driven to make people feel better, don't be surprised if they crack jokes about a bad situation. It isn't to make light of your situation but instead to make you feel a bit better through an attempt at laughter.

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However, since Cancerians are also highly intuitive and love seeing people happy, they know how to read a room and adjust their humor and jokes accordingly. They are quick-witted and know how to balance the right amount of silliness with sarcasm. Despite being naturally introverted, when they crack a joke, it has a tendency to leaving people in laughing and the Cancerian thrives on seeing people so happy that they come out of their shell a bit.


Just like the crab that symbolizes their zodiac sign, they can appear tough and rigid yet on the inside they are gentle souls who feel a true calling and responsibility to help others when they can. Cancers are extremely generous and give selflessly when they can. They are constantly sharing what they have with others and feel an instinctual responsibility to help others to the best of their ability.

If you are having a bad day or going through a devastating situation, Cancerians tend to be the ones ready to offer a shoulder to cry on, even if they have their own problems and issues they are dealing with. They will generously make time to help you feel better despite their own busy schedule.

Although Cancerians are great when it comes to saving money, they also enjoy spending money to help out those closest to them. Cancerians thrive on stability and want to see the same security and stability for their close friends and family, thus, if they can afford it, they are often willing to loan or give money to those in genuine need. Also, don't be surprised to see a Cancerian helping out a homeless person on the side of the street, whether it is bringing him or her a meal or giving away their last dollar just to help out someone less fortunate.

Do Not Underestimate Their Laid-Back Nature

Those who were born to into the Cancer zodiac sign are often calm, cool, and collected with a laid-back personality. That is unless provoked. Most of the time, Cancerians get along with just about anyone. They do not get angry that easily, but they most certainly do not like to be provoked or feel like they are under attack. They will rise to the challenge and defend themselves. In fact, when a Cancerian feels betrayed, their quick-witted tongue becomes sharp as they turn mean and vengeful.

People born in the Cancer zodiac sign don't argue often, but when they do, their quick-witted tongue will shut a person up quickly. If a Cancerian argues with someone they view as an idiot or with someone trying to be manipulative, they will bring up past examples to prove how unreliable that person, whether in what the person is saying or regarding the person's personal character. If they are really angry, Cancerians rarely care about sparing your feelings. Make no mistake, Cancerians can be ruthless in both speech and action when provoked and are quite unforgiving.

Also, keep in mind that while Cancerians are willing to go to great lengths to help those they care about, they also capable of vengeful wrath toward those they deem as enemies. Many Cancerians are fully aware of this duality but work to keep those dark thoughts hidden deep within themselves. Thus, it is not a good idea to provoke the wrath of Cancer.

Mood Swings

Due to the influence of the moon and being one of three water signs in the zodiac, Cancerians susceptible to erratic mood swings sometimes. Their mood swings are often compared to the changing tides in turbulent waters. When they are feeling happy, it will seem like they are on cloud nine and when they are feeling sad, the feeling is often magnified. This is also partly due to their sensitive nature. Their mood can change rapidly, too. They may be in a great mood at the start of the day but by the afternoon or evening, pessimistic and cynical. For some Cancerians, this is because they battle not only intense emotions but they can easily fall prey to their own self-doubt, however, they will rarely admit it.

Sentimental Nature

Those in the Cancer zodiac sign are often very sentimental and have difficulties letting go of the past. Because they are sensitive and susceptible to intense mood changes, they often become overly-emotional when thinking about events in the past that brought them joy or grief. Many times they find themselves thinking more about past events than focused on the current present moment.

Friendships and Romantic Relationships

Cancerians thrive on having a close network of friends despite their own need for privacy. They believe in having close friends who will always be there for one another through thick and thin. Because Cancerians are generous people, having close friendships allows them to fulfill their innate nature to want to help people.

Cancerians prefer genuine long-term relationships. They yearn for stability and security within a romantic partner. Thus, when considering being in a relationship with someone, they determine if the relationship has the potential for lasting forever. If for any reason they determine or decide that the relationship lacks potential or fulfillment of this desire, Cancerians will not stick around long and end the relationship.

Cancerians like to feel valued and appreciated, especially from their romantic partner. They need to feel genuinely loved and not to be taken for granted. This also is true in other areas of their life, such as work. They tend to put a lot of work and pride into a job well-done and thrive on people noticing.

Cancers are very sensitive when it comes to relationships and social situation. If a person in the Cancer zodiac sign cares for a something or falls in love, he or she does so more intensely. Because of this, it takes them to them longer to get over loss and heartbreak.

Due to a Cancerian’s issues with letting go of past events, they can hold resentment for a long time toward others who have betrayed their trust. This is due to their nature of compassion and generosity. They expect to be treated with the same compassion and generosity they Cancerians treat others with. Therefore, when someone treats him or her badly, Cancerians just cannot let go and bygones be bygones – they won’t forget who and what was done.


Family and Home Life

Cancerians often have goals to attain their dream home that is cozy and comfortable. Because they enjoy their privacy, they would prefer to have a house secluded that exudes calmness and serenity. It is their escape from the outside world. Sometimes it is impossible to escape the busy hustle and bustle of big cities, Cancerians still dream of or try to attain a home that at least feels like it is separated from what is going on in the outside world.

When it comes to family, Cancers are often protective of mothers, especially their own. So, if you are considering a relationship with a Cancerian, chances are their mothers come as a package deal. A Cancerian will often turn to his or her mother for advice before anyone else, including their spouse. When a Cancerian loses their mother, it devastates them for a very long time and is difficult for them to let go and move on with their lives.

Cancerians have a nurturing nature. They often make great parents and are very protective over members of their family. Some Cancerian parents tend to want to hover over their children, like helicopter parents, willing to bail them out of any mishaps or troubles.

Insecurities and Fears

Cancerians have a strong internal need for approval and can be quite needy when it comes to affection. Due to this, they can sometimes be clingy and overbearing, especially if it is someone they care deeply about. While Cancerians dislike disingenuous, they are capable of resorting to dishonesty just to keep someone or something they care about close. In other words, they sometimes are willing to be a bit manipulative out of a fear of losing what is dear to them.

Because Cancerians have difficulties letting go of past events, especially those that have had a negative impact on them, they are very sensitive to harsh, disapproving words. When someone says something hurtful to them, they internalize it and it opens old wounds, leaving them in self-doubt and self-pity.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Linda Sarhan

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