What does it mean when you dream about someone? The short answer is no one really knows. However, the best person to find out is yourself. Dreams can be confusing, upsetting, amazing or terrifying, but they all say something about who we are. The more you understand your dreams, the better you can figure out what is going on in your subconscious. Read on to learn what it means when you dream about someone you know.
The purpose of dreams is not definitively understood by science. None the less, many people agree that dreams have an important significance to our lives.
The content of dreams is often bizarre, inexplicable and seemingly random. Most people have about five dreams per night, although some have as many as seven. Most dreams, however, are soon forgotten once you wake up. Some dreams may have a meaning that is immediately obvious to you, and some can seem completely impossible to make sense of.
If you would like to remember more of your dreams, you might want to try keeping a dream journal. Leave a notebook and a pen on your nightstand, or under your pillow, and record your dreams as soon as you wake. Consider purchasing a lighted pen so that you can write down your dreams in the middle of the night. It is not easy to read dreams that are written in a half-awake state. However, the more often you record your dreams and train your brain to remember the night visions, the more dreams you will remember and the more details you can recall.
Psychoanalysis: Freud and Jung
Throughout history people have been interested in understanding the content of their dreams. The field of psychoanalysis, pioneered by the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, attempted to create a scientific theory and system for interpreting the meaning of dreams. Freud believed that the purpose of dreams was wish-fulfilment. He states an example of how he dreamt about drinking water when he was thirsty, only to wake still needing a drink of water.
His early work focused on sexual desires of the unconscious mind. He initially believed that the vast majority of dreams were motivated by this force. Later in his works, however, he would go on to clarify that anxiety dreams are different and are the result of real phobias or unsatisfied longings.
A colleague and former student of Freud’s was a man called Carl Jung. Jung moved away from Freud’s theories, believing that they were overly focused on sexual desires. Jung attempted to create a more analytic and holistic psychoanalysis. His system is still used by practitioners all over the world. A Jungian psychologist, Vocata George, Ph.D. explained in an interview with the Huffington Post that Jung’s psychological approach claims that dreams stem from the subconscious. Through dreams, your subconscious is trying to teach you something about yourself.
Here are some tips for analysing your dreams from the Jungian analyst Paul Benedetto:
- Keep a pen and some paper by your bed.
- Review your dream as soon as you wake up.
- Pick out key words from your dream. Make a title from these key words.
- Journal your thoughts and associations regarding the dream.
- Record the context of your own life at the time of the dream.
- Consider the structure of the dream. Where did it start? What changes happened? How did it climax?
- Note down any characters in the dream. Was there a protagonist?
The Meaning of Dreams
Dream interpretation can mean many things to many people. You can search dream meaning books for answers to why you dreamt about a bird, or what dreaming of flying means, but the interpretation of dreams is as personal as the dream itself.
Dreams are giving you a glance within your soul. When you dream about a friend you haven’t seen since high school, ask yourself what the dream means. Do you miss the person? Did you learn something about yourself from your friendship? Maybe a characteristic that you’ve let slide, such as self-esteem? Or maybe you heard a song on the radio earlier that day that reminded you of high school and triggered a memory of your friend. Only you can decide and interpret what your dream about a long-lost friend means.
The authors Trish and Rob MacGregor, in their book The Complete Dream Dictionary: A Bedside Guide to Knowing What Your Dreams Mean, give the following pointers to interpret your night visions:
- Identify your first impression of the dream. Your initial reaction is probably correct and the meaning is exactly as you see it.
- Try to connect your dreams with images you’ve seen on television, read in books or saw in your daily life.
- Consider your dream as a whole, as if you are on the outside looking in. Do you see a pattern or specific location to the dream?
- Look at the details of the dream. Did you recall any sights, smells, or feelings, no matter how small?
- Did your dream have any patterns or cycles? For example, did it occur over the course of a year, a season or a day?
- As your day continues, think about your dream and write down any other information you can remember.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone You Love?
Dreams about someone you love can leave you feeling happy, content, excited and fulfilled. If you haven’t seen the person for a while, you may also feel lonely or sad, but thankful you had a chance to see them in your dreams.
If Freud is correct, dreaming of someone you love is fulfilling a wish you have to see that person. Jung’s theory suggests that dreams are symbols of things and dreaming of someone you love represents something about yourself. What is dreaming about this person telling you about you?
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone You Don’t Know?
According to Psychology Today, your dreams typically contain two or three people and most of the time, you don’t know the characters in your dreams.
The Hall/Van de Castle theory for dream interpretation state that between 50 and 80 per cent of the people in dreams are unknown. According to this theory, strangers are usually represented as aggressive males. Hall/Van de Castle suggest that dreamers are processing feelings of aggression when they dream of male strangers. When dreaming, our mind attempts to form emotional memories. If those emotions are aggressive, you may dream about someone you don’t know.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone Who Has Passed?
The Jungian theory for dreaming about someone who has passed on, suggests looking inward as to why you are thinking about this person. Ask yourself what the person was like and what you admire about him? What parts of you identify with this person? Are there qualities in him you want to act out? If the person was always sad or depressed, are you feeling sad and depressed? The Jungian theory suggests that these dreams are ways to understand yourself better.
If Freud’s theory is followed, your desire to see the deceased has been fulfilled by your dreams. You wish to see the person, so your mind brings the person’s memory to life in a dream.
Unfortunately, you cannot put in a dream request like putting a DVD movie into a player. You can try to concentrate on your memories of someone to help you dream of that person, but it is not a guarantee. Your subconscious knows what dreams you need to help you process memories.
When You Dream About Someone What Does It Mean?
You are the best person to interpret your dreams. Your initial response after waking from a dream of a loved one, stranger or someone deceased is probably correct. You’ll know whether you are missing the person and your dream was a wish fulfilled, or if the person is reminding you of a part of you that is lost, or simply identifying a feeling within you such as aggression.
Another piece of the dream interpretation puzzle can include the lighting of your dream. The Complete Dream Dictionary touches on the lighting in your dreams. If the colours are bright and vivid and you can see the colours easily, you have entered into a move evolved conscious state. The ideas in this dream should be easier for you to accept and interpret.
If the dream is in low light, black and white, or old-fashioned sepia, brownish, tones, you have entered a less evolved consciousness area. This type of dream may require more processing. If your dreams are even darker, they are probably coming from deep in your consciousness.
Your dreams about someone can help you get unstuck. They may be the reminder you need to make changes and move on with your life. Dreams can be wishes fulfilled to see a person, or they can be a symbolic representation of something going on with you.
However you decide to interpret your dream, it is acceptable. Dreams are very personal and only you know what that dream about your old high school friend represents. You will uncover why you’re dreaming of people and although you can’t control it, once you understand the reasons why, you may learn something important about yourself.
Have you had an interesting dream that you can’t make sense of? Please feel free to post about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts, theories and ideas about dreams!