Every person dreams around two to five times a night, although we usually don’t remember what we were dreaming. The dreams we do remember usually feature human beings. That’s no surprise considering we meet and communicate with other people on a daily basis.
Sometimes, the people we’ve never met “star” in our dreams, but more often than not, we dream about people we do know – family members, friends, colleagues, foes… It’s also not uncommon to dream about a person we are not personally acquainted with but know a lot about them – like celebrities and other public persons.
So you might be wondering what does it mean when you dream about someone? If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the meanings of your dreams, then read on.
What does it mean to have dreams about someone?
A lot of our dreams can be perceived as an adventure story or a movie. There’s a scenario that you follow from the beginning to the end, different locations where the story is set, and of course, there are characters that play main and support roles.
A lot of different people appear in our dreams. One day it’s your mother, the next day you might be having a dream about the President. Whomever the dream is about, the same question you could ask yourself – why them? Today, you would get a different, and a much simpler answer to this question than the answer Froyd or Jung would give, for example. These two famous psychoanalysts would go on and on about how your dreams reflect your hidden libido or internal conflicts. Psychologist Calvin Hall, a developer of a cognitive theory of dreams, would give you a much simpler explanation.
Hall claims that our dreams are a reflection of our ordinary daily social interactions. Our day-to-day experiences influence our dreams, according to the continuity hypothesis. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the people we encounter in our everyday life also star in our dreams. However, our dreams’ storylines can be a bit odd and bizarre, and the people appearing in it aren’t always the ones we see every day. There are reasons why you dreamed about a specific person, and here we’ll elaborate that in detail.
The three types of people as characters in our dreams
All the people that star in your dreams appear as one of the three types of characters. Here we’ll elaborate a bit more on their characteristics in order for you to gain a better insight into the meaning of your dreams.
Characters starring as themselves
This is pretty self-explanatory – the characters in our dreams play themselves. Your significant other you dreamed of last night was also your lover in your dream. The reason why you might have dreamed about them is basically what Hall said – you interacted with them recently, so your memory of them is still fresh. This is why it’s not unusual to dream about someone who you haven’t seen for years, and then bumped into them on the street a few days ago.
People and characters in your dreams as symbols
Although sometimes people in your dreams star as themselves, more often than not, their appearance has a deeper meaning. In other words, they’re representing a certain symbol. What does that mean? Here’s an example.
Imagine you’re dreaming that the Queen of England has stopped by your house for a cup of tea. You (probably) don’t know Elizabeth II personally, so it’s obvious that her appearance in your dream has no connection to your everyday encounters. Rather, it’s probably a symbol of your current concerns. In this case, you’re probably experiencing an issue with controlling in your life recently – whether it’s the lack of control in a certain situation or the fear that you’ve been controlled by someone.
A lot of the time, you’ll dream about a person with whom you have some kind of a relationship, whether it’s your neighbor or your parent. While they do star in your dream as themselves, they’re actually representing a certain symbol too.
For instance, you dreamed about your aunt who’s a doctor. Sure, you might have had an encounter with her in the last few days, but it’s much more likely you dreamed about her because your subconsciousness is trying to tell you something more. Dreaming about doctors, nurses, even guardians usually means you might be overwhelmed with responsibilities, balancing needs and taking care of others.
Someone in a dream as an aspect of yourself
Dreaming about someone you know might not have anything to do with them whatsoever! Some dream analysts claim that the people we dream of actually represent aspects of ourselves. That might not seem so surprising if we think about it – we’re all so intricate and diverse. You can be a father, a marketing manager, a step dancer, a BBQ enthusiast and an optimist, all at the same time. Here’s an example of how people who appear in your dream represent one of your personas.
You’re dreaming about your child running around the playground. At one point, you lose your focus, and when you turn around, your kid is nowhere to be found. In this case, the child is not an actual representation of your own child. Instead, the kid is a symbol of your childlike qualities, and losing him represents you losing a part of yourself.
Here’s another typical dream scenario – someone is chasing you. This type of dream could count as a “nightmare” category, since you get anxious and sweaty trying to outwit the one who chases you. This stressful dream is also centered around yourself. The person you are running from is actually your own self, and it symbolizes the avoidance of your certain persona. The traits of the chaser are your own traits, but you may not be aware of that.
For instance, running away from a clown represents you trying to get away from certain aspects of yourself that are humiliating. Maybe there are particular events in your life you’re ashamed of – like being bullied in school – something you might not have quite gotten over.
Dreams about being strangulated are not uncommon either. They tell you that you’re, figuratively speaking, suffocating yourself in real life by something. If your boss is the one strangling you in your dreams, it might be that you’re drowning yourself with work too much. If you replace your boss with your lover in that dream storyline, it might mean that love is stopping you from focusing your attention on other things in your life.
How about dreaming of celebrities? That’s yet another common type of dream. The celebrities that appear in our story plot illustrate a part of ourselves we want the recognition for. In other words, we want other people to acknowledge and appreciate certain achievements of ours.
Questions to Ask to Understand the Meaning of People in Your Dreams
All the information above can be quite overwhelming. It’s not so easy distinguishing a character appearing as themselves from the one who’s appearing as a symbol. In order to understand your dreams better, try asking yourself some questions about the person appearing in your dream.
Here are some questions about the person you may want to ask
First things first, think about their name. For instance, a character in your dreams might be called Hope – that’s an obvious symbol your unconsciousness is giving you.
The next thing you should ask yourself is the age of the character appearing in your dream. We’ve established before that dreaming of a child has a certain meaning. The same thing stands for dreaming of old people. The elderly in our dreams represent maturity and wisdom. Seeing yourself as an old person signifies that you’re running out of time – whether you’re late with a work project or maybe your marriage is over.
Now, analyze the person’s appearance. How are they dressed? Is there something unusual about them? Does anything stand out? Their looks can tell you if that person is appearing as a symbol, or they’re simply starring as themselves. For example, an ugly person starring in your dream symbolizes bad feelings and complexes that might stand in the way of your social harmony.
Their personality is nothing less important in understanding the meaning of their presence in your dream. Dreaming about someone who’s greedy might be related to your real-life financial troubles.
Finally, you need to ask yourself how that person makes you feel. Let’s recall the example we mentioned before – dreaming about someone chasing you. In these types of dreams, the chaser makes you feel afraid. This feeling is a symbol of a lack of control in your life. You might be having inner struggles and questioning your own life choices. Feeling angry might signify you feeling undervalued or even jealous of someone.
Dream interpretation is just like any skill – it gets better with practice. This about these questions when asking yourself what does it mean when you dream about someone. In time you’ll get better at understanding why they are starring in it, and what they represent.