Even if you can name drop your Sun sign, rising sign, and Moon sign, there’s a chance you might not be all that familiar with the elements that actually rule your birth chart. ICYDK, the 12 signs that make up the Zodiac are ruled by four elements—water, air, earth, and fire—which can explain why you are the way you are and do the things you do. The coolest part: Each ruling element controls three signs. So while every sign is unique, those impacted by the same element share notable values and attributes.

Take the three air signs—Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra—for example. They’re usually your teachers, lawyers, engineers, and journalists (hey, *raises hand*).

“[Air signs are] all about intellectual and mental energy, and everything that has to do with communication,” says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Astrology.com. “These are the signs that spend a lot of time up in their heads—thinking and analyzing every side of a situation.” So it’s not surprising that air signs are often considered the smartest signs of the zodiac and, consequently, get bored easily. “If something isn’t meeting their needs they are quick to make changes,” says astrologer Sanasjia Clervoix.

And because their bodies need to keep up with their quick minds, you’ll most likely find an air sign on the go. “Air signs tend to be restless, physically expressive, and quick, due to their need for constant mental stimulation,” says astrologer Liz Simmons. If you need a workout or travel buddy, you know who to turn to.

Meet the Experts:
Narayana Montúfar is a senior astrologer at Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power.

Sanasjia Clervoix is an astrologer and energy healer.

Liz Simmons is a professional astrologer and writer for Astrology.com based in Salem, Massachusetts.

Valerie Mesa is a professional astrologer and writer based in Miami, Florida.

Brilla Samay is a certified karmic astrologer and tarot consultant based in Los Angeles, California.

But as with all signs in astrology, there are also a few common misconceptions. “People tend to think that air signs are unemotional and have a more detached approach to their relationships,” says Clervoix. “They can definitely appear that way, but in reality, air signs are extremely in tune to what is going on around them and tend to compartmentalize what they are feeling internally so they can sort through their emotions from a more logical perspective.”

So it’s not so much that these signs are above it all; Montúfar stresses air signs actually love being surrounded by a variety of people and are the most social of the four elements. It’s just that while they’re busy being the life of the party, they’re also completely unbothered by what anyone else thinks of them (or, simply, are trying to understand their emotions before expressing them).

Moreover, because these brainiacs are always stuck in their heads, it’s hard for them to ground themselves so they can be pretty indecisive and fickle, says astrologer Valerie Mesa. Their high social intelligence may also be perceived in the wrong way, unintentionally coming across as superficial, unreliable, and aloof, says Simmons.

Sound familiar? Your zodiac sign might just be one of the three that fall under the air category. Ahead, astrologers explain how each air sign channels their intellectual influence, who the real leader of the air signs is, which signs are most compatible with air signs, and if these signs are truly the smartest of the zodiac.

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)

“Aquarius is the rebel,” says Montúfar. There’s an out-of-the-box air and originality to everything they do.

Think of it this way: If there’s a crowd of people doing the same thing, you won’t find an Aquarian there. Either because they’re leading the pack or never saw the point in expending energy for a cause they didn’t really vibe with in the first place. “Aquarians will stand out in any setting, whether they try to or not,” says Clervoix. They’re used to going against the grain and waiting for everyone else to catch up.

Aquarians are forward thinking (thanks to its ruling planet Uranus, which governs innovation), and this mindset allows them to be visionaries as well as revolutionaries, says Mesa.

But because they have a strong sense of self, you’d be hard-pressed to get this fixed sign to change their mind. Aquarians don’t respond well to being told what to do or how to think. But that doesn’t mean they take people for granted, says Mesa. “On the contrary, this sign has a humanitarian spirit and a collaborative mindset,” she explains. “In their eyes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s no such thing as an individual without a community.” Clervoix adds that this is because Aquarians tend to think more existentially about innovating humanity as a whole. They have a long-term, progressive vision for the world that they can only bring forward through delegating roles so everybody can work together as a team, says karmic astrologer Brilla Samay.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

This sign is the chameleon of the Zodiac. Geminis can adapt to almost any situation and tend to be quick-witted and chatty—thanks to its Mercurial influences. “Whether you’re meeting up with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday or making a quick cameo at a work colleague’s soirée, the likelihood of a Gemini organizing either of these social events (if not both) is more than likely,” says Mesa.

And sure, this mutable sign gets a bad rep for being two-faced, but that’s not an accurate reflection of those born under this sign. Geminis are communicators, problem solvers, and curious people. Because they’re constantly absorbing information, both good and bad, they’re some of the least judgmental people around, says Montúfar: “Geminis are versatile, great at adaptability, and analyzing a situation from every perspective.” It’s what allows them to get along with pretty much anyone (well, as long as that person doesn’t bore them).

And sure, your Gemini friend may be super into conspiracy theories, but that’s only because “they thrive when information is transferred between humans and don’t like to limit their mental potential,” says Samay.

Because Geminis tend to be focused on innovation and intellect, they know how to move efficiently in social settings. “Geminis know how to work a room and find the right people to speak to in order to bring about opportunities for themselves, professionally or socially,” says Clervoix.

As the most changeable of the zodiac signs, Geminis are not here for your routines or mundane schedules. Expect them to change their minds a lot because they want to be wherever they’ll have the most fun. They’re too excitable for anything less.

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

Charm and magnetism, that’s how you’ll spot a Libra. This sign is a social butterfly like Gemini, but pickier when it comes to acquaintances, says Montúfar. They appreciate anything beautiful—art, design, and all the gratification life has to offer “as they’re the only air sign ruled by the goddess of pleasure, Venus,” she adds.

“Libras have a core desire to inspire others and their surroundings, so they’re often trendsetters,” says Samay. Over time, they may even be labeled as icons for the silent changes they bring to the world, she adds. After all, notable celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Cardi B, and Serena Williams are all Libras.

Watch this video to learn more about the most common Libra personality traits:

preview for If You’re a Libra, You Probably Have These Traits

Because they’re also diplomatic, expect a Libra to go out of their way to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, says Mesa. They’ll go hard for the underdog and sometimes defend them more than they’d defend themselves, notes Montúfar. In everything they get involved in, a Libra will work toward fairness and harmony.

However, as moved as they are by injustice, Libras really dislike confrontation. Because they tend to be people-pleasers, they’re likely to hide from confrontation to avoid getting involved. And if they do find themselves in the middle of a sticky sitch? Don’t ask them to make a decision because they’ll hate that, too.

Similar to Gemini’s social game, Libras bring their contagious energy to their relationships and partnerships. “Libra’s are highly compromising and giving when it comes to love, and can bring beauty to any space they occupy.” In other words, they love hard. This partner-focused sign also loves to be seen with others (that’s Venus talking), so more often than not, you will spot a Libra with someone by their side, says Simmons.

Libras are happiest when they’re surrounded by the finer things in life, Montúfar says. It’s all about good food, good music, (uh, good sex) and optimism for this air sign.

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Who is the leader of the air signs?

While each air sign has its defining qualities, who is the true leader of the pack? The short answer: All of them. (Not in a “everyone’s a winner” type of way, but in a “the astrologers can’t come up with a conclusion” kind of way.)

“One could argue that Libra is the ‘leader,’ since Libra is a cardinal sign, and cardinal signs tend to be go-getters and initiators,” says Simmons.

On the contrary, Samay argues that Aquarians are the true leaders of the air signs (at least in the physical world), as they have a long-term vision for society that they can actually follow through on as a fixed sign, while the other two signs might veer off, she says.

Metaphysically, however, Gemini is the real leader as Gemini leads with curiosity and has the power to break down old thoughts and bring in new, innovative ways of thinking, says Samay.

Which signs are most compatible with air signs?

Now, when it comes to what the other elements think of air signs, it’s kind of a mixed bag. An emotional water sign might find the air signs to be a bit cold, while earth signs will be too stale and stable for air signs. But fire signs—Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius—they’re all about the air signs. The feeling’s mutual because “air feeds fire,” Montúfar says.

The fire signs and air signs naturally get one another, says Simmons. Fire signs can handle air signs’ cool exterior and also provide warmth, spontaneity, and passion to the friendship or partnership. “Air signs also like that fire signs can match their extraversion, friendliness, and independence,” she adds.

Plus, these two just complement each other. While air signs are more intellectual, fire signs are all about action. Air signs are the ones collecting all of these new ideas and planning movements, but the fire signs are the ones actually at the picket line, fighting, says Samay. Together, these two elements are able to push things forward, she adds.

And you know how they say opposites attract? Well, each air sign has a fire sign opposition pairing, or sister sign (literally on the opposite side of the Zodiac wheel). For Aquarians, their perfect match is Sun-ruled Leo, while Geminis are best suited for Jupiter-ruled Sagittariuses, and Libra’s OTP is Aries, ruled by the fiery planet Mars.

Are air signs really the smartest signs of the Zodiac?

A common question people tend to scour the internet for an answer to is: “Are air signs the smartest signs of the Zodiac?” And the answer is: Depends on who you’re asking.

Since air signs are inclined to take an impartial, analytical approach to many aspects of life, they may be the smartest when it comes to existential and logical intelligence, says Simmons. In other words, air signs are the wittiest when it comes to solving life’s greatest mysteries and breaking down barriers for progress. “The air signs definitely hold significant keys to the universe and their gifts lie within processing the human mind and experience,” which is no easy feat, says Samay. They’re often the ones forming explanations for ideas and concepts we never even knew existed or how to word, she adds.

Do you have a friend who’s always introducing you to new ideas and innovations? Does this friend always seem to have just the right words to make sense of an intangible phenomenon you’ve been pondering? Yeah, they’re most likely an air sign. (I mean, how could you expect these signs to spend so much time in their heads and not have answers?)

And while air signs might have the analytical ability to break down difficult concepts, the rest of the signs—fire, earth, and water signs—also hold abilities and certain intelligences that the air signs may not possess. After all, logical intelligence isn’t the only form of insight. (Emotional intelligence? No one’s better at that than the sensitive and deep water signs, trust.)

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Aryelle Siclait
Aryelle Siclait is the editor at Women's Health where she writes and edits articles about relationships, sexual health, pop culture, and fashion for verticals across WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She's a Boston College graduate and lives in New York.
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Sabrina is an editorial assistant for Women’s Health. When she’s not writing, you can find her running, training in mixed martial arts, or reading.

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Naydeline Mejia is an assistant editor at Women’s Health, where she covers sex, relationships, and lifestyle for WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She is a proud graduate of Baruch College and has more than two years of experience writing and editing lifestyle content. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrift-shopping, binge-watching whatever reality dating show is trending at the moment, and spending countless hours scrolling through Pinterest.