The Meaning of Other People in a Dream

Before we go on and look at some other big themes and common symbols in dreams, I thought it worthwhile clarifying a question that comes up a lot about the people who star in our dreams.  So many people say “I dreamt of this guy/girl at work, I dreamed about an old friend/relative/lover etc.  Why am I dreaming about them?”  Even strangers we barely know, people we have noticed for only a fleeting moment at the shop, on the train, passing by on the street, all can make guest appearances in your nightly imaginings.  What do they have to tell us?

The first thing to get clear is that dreaming of these people is not wish fulfilment (no you don’t really want to “have sex with/kill/insert other bizzare action” with these people.)  Despite the sniggers you may hear when you say “I dreamed about so and so last night” and the reply “yeah? was it good?”, such replies really display a basic lack of knowledge  of dreams and what they are all about.

Remember, dreaming occurs only in your head.  These other people haven’t magically popped into your head of their own will – you are imagining them through a dream.  Just think if you dream of others in this way, even strangers and people you don’t especially care about, how often have you made a guest appearance in somebody else’s dream?  Which leads us back to the original question – why this particular person, at this particular time?  Like  all symbols in our dreams, people represent something other than what they are.  Remember our dreams speak to us in pictures, and they try to use elements from our everyday life that are familiar to us.  So going back to the practice of explaining symbols in your dream as you would to a child from the previous post, do the same thing for the person.   Describe their character, their personality, their relationship to you.  Then look at those words, not the person and see what they mean to you.

Using the example of Bob the neighbour from the previous “Attack” post: he lives close to me, and I feel like he is always butting in to my affairs. He is always criticising with a harsh tone and makes me feel uncomfortable.   This can you help you understand where in yourself you are being critical and harsh.  When you dream of attacking Bob, you dream isn’t telling you that you really want to attack Bob (even though in real life you may find him annoying) it is actually revealing what you have in common with Bob, and how you want to silence your own inner critic, your own “inner Bob.”

Sex and love dreams can make us feel equally uncomfortable.  But instead of thinking of this as some fantasy to be ashamed of, go through the same process of describing the person and their defining characteristics from your perspective, and then view the sex/love actions in the dream as areas of your own personality you are coming to love, new aspects of yourself you are embracing.  These dreams are not about wish fulfilment but about personal healing and finding unity within your self.  For example, you might dream of sex with the boss.  You might describe your boss as uncompromising, influential, powerful and a strong leader.  This dream would indicate that you are starting to embrace your own leadership qualities, and learning to wield your own influence and power.  So don’t feel ashamed, but maybe refrain from sharing this dream with the boss or anyone else at work who is unlikely to understand the metaphor!

Another aspect of the male/female unity dream is of embracing our own opposite sides.  Jung believes each man has a feminine side, and each woman a masculine.  Finding the correct balance in a society that defines these roles for us can be challenging.  A man dreaming of sex with a strange or beautiful woman is not likely to be thinking about cheating, but more positively, is probably becoming more in tune with his feminine side, maybe getting more in touch with his emotions.  Similarly, a woman dreaming about making love to a gorgeous male stranger is not necessarily having a fantasy, but more likely embracing her own masculine qualities, such as maybe learning to stand up for herself or become more assertive.  Often these dreams will seem more than simply sex, and have a profound love or even spiritual aspect to them.  This is a true sign of internal healing or growth.  And it is not “cheating” on your partner!  Rather, your partner is likely to enjoy the new energy and confidence such dreams create as you embrace your entire true nature.

There is one aspect though, depending on your own personal beliefs about life and death, where to dream of another person may not be symbolic. That is when you dream of someone you love who has departed this mortal coil.  I know controversy exists around this, but I personally believe that to dream of a deceased loved one, (especially when quite recently departed), whether you believe they actually appear in spirit form or not, can still be a profoundly moving experience, and one that cannot be adequately explained by referring to that person as a metaphor or symbol.  In these instances, the person is simply them-self, and to dream of them can be a step in the healing process of mourning, grief and loss.  These dreams are like gifts, psychic hugs if you will, that help us along the path to acceptance and recovery.

So, next time you dream you are attacking the neighbour or sleeping with the boss, remember to stop and think what these people represent to you.  They are not themselves, simply masks your dream has used to express a concept too difficult to condense into words.

You may also be interested in the posts:

the meaning of Old Friends in a dream

the meaning of Loved Ones in a dream

the meaning of Making Love in a dream

the meaning of Cheating in a dream

the meaning of Sex with an Ex in a dream

the meaning of a Wedding in dream

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29 Comments

  1. The reason I even looked up this particualr subject was due to a dream i had last nite.

    i dreamed of Brian(a man i barely know who goes to my church), and i dreamed of Felicia ( a girl i met who comes over periodically to hang out with a roomate htere) speaking of “here” this is where the dream takes place in the living room (tv area). Felicia is sitting on the couch and telling me that Brian has changed for the better since this child in a wheelchair has come into his life..in the Dream its seems felicia and Brian are a couple, when in reality they are not and dont even know eachother. she goes on to say that Brian really wants a child of his own…I know Brian well enough to know that he is the step dad to the young adults that go to my church…and the dream seems to be telling me straight forward that Brian just wants his own kid.
    My question is, Why do i have this dream,? am i supposed to confront him and see if that is his deep longing, to become closer freinds with him?

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  2. Hi Candace, thanks so much for sharing your dream. I would caution you about speaking to Brian about his desire for children, this dream is probably more about you than it is him. Think what qualities does Brian have? Then see whether you have these qualities in yourself, and whether you like these qualities or not. If you don’t have them, would you like to? The fact that in your dream Brian wants a child probably means on some level you are ready yourself to provide more nurturing and care, either to someone else, a new project, or even to let go of some past pain and care for yourself. What is your own deep longing? It is interesting that Brian’s life has changed for the better since the boy in the wheelchair came into his life. Is there somewhere in yor life where you feel “crippled” or damaged in someway? Has your mobility or independence been restricted? This dream seems to point a healing going on inside you. Maybe you have grown and learned new coping skills. Of course, if you would like to get closer to Brian and befriend him because he has qualities you admire or respect, then by all means do so! Just remember, in our dreams the people we see are usually just masks for different aspects fo our own personality. I hope this was helpful Candace! Good luck!

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  3. Hi, I wonder if you could still answer my question- seems like this thing was posted a while ago.

    I recently had a dream about a dead person, a celebrity, whom I obviously never met. A while ago, in real life, I saw an interview with his ex, who is also the mother of his child, talk about her loss- it was moving. But back to the dream; I saw this man in my dream and Iwas fully aware that he died in real life (of drug abuse, I believe). In my dream, I knew that he was going to die and observed I him take some drugs too I think. Then, as he was standing in front of me, my best friend (who has some psychic powers) approached me and when she looked at him, I could tell from her look that she knew he was going to die, but she didn’t say anything about it.

    I once went to a psychic who told me I was going to be a widow. Now I’m afraid that my husband might die. Please tell me what you think. I love my husband so much.

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  4. I have been having recurring dreams for a few months about a guy at school. We’ll call him Jørgen, because that’s his name. When the dreams started, I had never officially met him, but I knew of his existence. I dream about him at least once a week, but recently almost every day. The situation of the dream is always different, but he’s always a friend in the dreams. Since the dreams started, we’ve spoken a few times, and he seems like someone I would like. I find the dreams enjoyable and frustrating at the same time. Whenever my friends in real life let me down, which is much more often than I would like, he’s always there, and it feels like I know Jørgen well, and that he’s one of my best friends. However, I see him in real life, and I don’t see that same recognition of friendship in his eyes, and it’s saddening. What do I do?

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  5. Hello,
    This website really has helped me to understand some things about myself. I just woke up from a dream where a guy in my class [who i admire for his dedication to being a navy seal when he graduates] has been in two of my dreams now.

    The first is me and some friends i had just made in the dream were shopping in a mall [I knew it was a mall but when the next part happens we are in a Walmart] and they started to bully me. I left because i didnt want to fight and found him laying under a baked goods table. I walked past because i was crying and then turned around, squatted down to him [because he apparently was trying to sleep there??] and asked for a hug. He gave me a hug and then we went shopping after. We got a huge bag of Nectarines, because my mom loves those and i was shopping for her, that cost $22! Well when we left he pulled his vehicle up and asked if i wanted a ride. I told hin naw, I’ll be ok.He started to srive away when i called out his name and he stopped the truck. I ran to his truck [wasnt far] and asked for his phone number. Then i went to the other side and hopped in and when he was done writing his # we drove around the parking lot w times looking for my vehicle. We found it and he pulled into a parking spot next to it when a police officer flashed her lights at us. We stayed still and she approached the truck and accused him of setting a fire in the mall that morning at 8 am. We said we were in school during that time. She let it be and i had the paper with his number in my hand, jumped out of the truck, and it ended. The weird part is that i knew that on the paper was a note with the number.

    The second that happened this morning had him again where we all lived in a weird close neighborhood and he lived nesrby so he started driving me to and from school. Then one day we kissed and made out. Then i would go home still and yeah…he would still pick me up, but the last part of the dream i remember was i was staring into his eyes, which were very dark after a make out session, and he was going to say something but i have no clue if he did or not.

    Can you tell me what you read from these 2 dreams in case i have missed something from them? (In my case, i have read admiration and attraction).

    Sincerely,
    Angelica L

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  6. Okay so can you find out what this means? A boy in my class that I barely know was in my dream. Not gonna give you the details but like everyone in my grade worked together to defeat a maze and I was about to walk out of this celebration my whole grade had and the boy stopped me and gave me a card. Then I read it and it was a nice card then he said something and put of no where I hugged him and he hugged me back for about 5 minutes and we just talked while hugging . Then he just left. Kinda creepy I have to tell you and I have no clue what bit means.HELP

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  7. Hi, I don’t see any recent comments so I’m not sure if you still reply to posts? I had a dream about someone I knew over 15 years ago. I had minimal interaction with this male (I’m a female). I was in an HR position and he was an employee. There was no attraction between us. So in the dream we bumped into each other and he asked me on a date. Next thing I know, we are having dinner and he is asking me about what I like and dislike in a man. I describe all of this in detail to him then all of a sudden, we are living together. I come home from work and am extremely tired. He is sitting on the couch so I go over and lay my head on his lap. He picks up the phone and calls friends to tell them I came home too tired so we won’t be meeting them for dinner. I get on top of him and tell him how sweet he is to me and this is the first time we have sex. I can remember in my dream he smells so good and its almost like I can still smell him even after I woke up and even now. It wasn’t just sex but there was alot of intimacy involved. I felt connected to him and it was an amazing experience. Next thing I know, I am in the kitchen at our friends house making green chili. I look over at him and he winks at me and I feel so loved. I’m looking over at my friend in the kitchen and I tell her I think I’m in love with this man. He is standing right behind me and he gets very excited and asks me if what I just stated is true. I tell him it is and he tells me he loves me too.

    *during our conversation while out to dinner I tell him I like a man who helps me around the house, who helps me with dinner, is a romantic man and makes me feel like a woman. I tell him I dislike liars and cheating. He tells me I’ve just described him perfectly.

    It seems in my dream we live happily ever after. Can you help me figure this out?

    Thank you so much!

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  8. Please tell me what this means

    I had a dream about my Boyfriend who i have never met and i met him in my dream. And from far away he looked like himself (like the pics he sent me) but when he got closer he was a different person. At first I acted like it was okay he was a different person but so enough I was trying to get away from him because it wasn’t my Boyfriend.

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  9. I had two dreams one of cuddling with someone one that I know and like and the other dream was of the same person but he didn’t seem to want to talk or have anything to do with me I need help understanding these dreams can u help me please ?😔

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  10. I recently had a dream about a guy who lives in my neighborhood. We don’t really talk to each other that much but he seems like a cool guy. I kinda feel like this is maybe a Love dream, I don’t really know because when I have dreams I go to tons of different places in my dreams. Anyway, so I was at the place that I used to go to when I was a kid and he was there. There was a bunch of people that I don’t even know in that particular area; but the guy(we’ll just call him bob) “Bob” was like flirting with me, being really close or “touchy” I guess(not in a bad way). It was just weird, I mean I barely even know “Bob” in real life. I just wanna know, why this has happened. I’m wondering if he might’ve been dreaming about me too. This is really confusing for me, I suffer from memory loss so I don’t even really remember my dreams when I wake up. Can someone please help me??

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  11. I see someone in my dreams every once in a while. Normally much doesn’t go on like this, and in real life we barely have have interaction. Yet said person pops up rarely once in a while, and for some reason it makes me feel good when it happens. I always feel happy when I see it, and just now I woke up from it and they were in the dream just being random and etc, I walked away for a moment and then said person caught up with me rolling down the hallway on a cart and ask me if I wanted to join. Last time I had a dream with the person in it was a while ago, but does anyone know what that means?

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  12. Hi. I had a really weird dream last night having to do with my mom and a stranger.

    In my dream, I had walked into my moms room and found her sitting on her bed with a bottle of wine. As soon as I asked her what she was about to do, she asked me to leave. I then told her ” the person who walks in in this room, might not walk out.” Obviously meaning that I was about to seriously hurt the person who was about to have sex with my mom. I was in my room then walked back into her room and saw a man standing there just naked and he didn’t even know I was there. I then proceeded to straight up attack this person and I’m pretty sure I almost beat this person to death. I started cursing and choking him I also started threatening him with a knife (something I would never do) all I remember about this guy was that there was blood everywhere and also that this person had blonde hair that was drenched in blood but that’s the only thing I remember about him physically. Also, every time my mom told me to stop I kept on saying the same thing: “I told you what would happen” then all the sudden a girl I used to have a crush on in my school walked in the room and hugged me. I then got up kicked the guy one last time and walked out. I’m still getting adrenaline rushes right now just by thinking about it. If you could please try to tell me what this means that would be great. I read 3 of these articles but I can’t seem to find a deeper meaning.

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  13. I keep having a recurrent dream about a guy I was friends with as teenagers and was intimate with once years back we were close but in this dream we meet up at a market and he listened to me next thing we are full blown making love really intimitely and the dream keeps happening it really makes me happy and I don’t like waking from it when I’m having it but I find myself waking up and wondering now even though I’m in a relationship of 12 yrs did I let something good in my life go I don’t no.

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  14. I dreamt that a child, around kindergarten age, was going through an obstacle course. I went along, ensuring all went well. At one point it was quite difficult to squeeze herself into a hole in an awkward position to complete a task, but she did it and emerged triumphantly
    She was jumping up and down, saying “I Did It” over and over. I could here her father call “You Did It!” as well, saying that she was done, and to go to the finish line, but when she arrived it was only the mother. The mother acted like it was another day at the park, stated ineffectually that she had done well and that it was time to go. I grabbed the little girl and said “You Did A Terrific Job, You Were AMAZING!” I tried to hide my anguish from her mother, which was pointless as she was already walking away. As the little girl downtroddenly turned to walk away, I could see two pretty little diamond earrings, but they were both in the Back of her Head instead of her ears!

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  15. Just about everybody you know is in your dream at the same time. I.e. in a restaurant or at a show mingling everybody’s there?

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