What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone? (2024)

If you've ever had a dream about someone unexpected, such as an ex, co-worker, or crush, you might wonder why someone might appear in your dreams. While dreams are often centered on your daytime thoughts and concerns, they can also reflect your unconscious thoughts or feelings about others. In other cases, dreams might symbolically represent something else entirely.

Dreaming About Someone Can Reveal Unconscious Feelings

The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud played a significant role in connecting dream interpretation to the field of psychology. Dreams, Freud suggested, were one way to access the unconscious mind. Freud described the unconscious mind as a vast reservoir of thoughts, feelings, and desires hidden from conscious awareness.

Even though the contents of the unconscious are not directly accessible, Freud still believed that these thoughts, memories, and desires could still have an influence on behavior. Freud also believed the unconscious could be explored through processes such as dream analysis, free association, hypnosis, Freudian slips, and psychoanalysis.

Freud believed that brining unconscious information to light could help alleviate psychological distress. If dreaming about someone has left you upset, distressed, or just plain baffled, exploring your dream's meaning may help you make sense of what it might mean.

Why Does Someone Show Up In Your Dreams?

According to Jesse Lyon, a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Lyon Counseling in Casselberry, Florida, in order to understand what it means to dream about someone, it is essential first to understand that dreams communicate information on two different levels. These levels are known as the manifest content and the latent content.

Sigmund Freud famously described these two aspects of dreams in his seminal book "The Interpretation of Dreams." Freud suggested that dreams were highly symbolic and contained literal meanings (the manifest content) and symbolic meanings (the latent content).

Manifest Content

The manifest content of a dream is the actual events and images that take place within the dream.

This is the imagery and storyline that you remember upon waking. If you dream about someone, the manifest content would be the details about that individual, their appearance, the events that take place, and the interactions you have within the dream.

"Manifest content is very literal and will communicate with you directly about a problem you have or situation you experienced," Lyon explains. "For example, you might dream about getting into an argument with your romantic partner because you are currently experiencing conflict in your relationship; this is pretty straightforward dream processing."

Another example might be having a dream about attending a concert with a close friend you haven’t seen in a long time. The manifest content would be the events, your friend's words and reactions, and the other sensory and perceptual elements you experience as a dreamer.

The manifest content may not, however, necessarily reflect the underlying meaning of the dream. It is through analyzing the latent content—or the symbolic meaning—that you might get a better idea of what your dream might mean.

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Latent Content

The latent content of a dream, Lyon notes, is much more personal and emotional. This involves the subconscious meaning of the dream, or what dream interpreters would say is the hidden meaning behind your dream. In the previous example of arguing with a partner, Lyon explains, it might mean that the person is struggling with feeling unworthy of their partner’s love.

Dreaming about a friend you haven't seen in years might symbolically represent a subconscious yearning for reconnection or a desire to find closure for unresolved feelings. Or it might indicate a broader desire for more social connection and companionship in general.

Examples of Dream Symbolism

"If you ever see someone show up in your dreams, ask yourself: 'What does this person symbolize to me?'" Lyon suggests. If it's your:

  • Boss: It might represent struggles with authority.
  • Mother: You might be dealing with struggles related to femininity and self-nurturance.
  • High-school teacher: You might be coping with feeling judged or graded.

Dreaming About Romance and Relationships

What does it mean if you dream about your crush or about dating someone?Dreaming about a crush might be about the obvious meaning—you are interested in being with them romantically. However, Lyon notes, that isn't necessarily the whole story.

Because dreams have manifest (or literal) content and latent (or more symbolic) meanings, it is essential to consider both. The manifest content of your dreams might reveal deeper, subconscious meanings that are worth exploring.

This is something you might wonder about, particularly if you have a romantic dream about someone who isn’t necessarily a potential romantic partner (such as one of a friend or boss).

"Romantic involvement is all about connection. So, if you are on a date, or even having sex, with someone you would not expect, that person symbolizes an area of your life that you need to connect with more deeply," Lyon explains.

Meaning Behind Romantic Dreams About Someone

According to Lyon, these dreams might be more about:

  • Control over your own life: "If you dream about having sex with your boss, you may not actually want to have sex with them, but you definitely need to consider how you connect with your own authority and assertiveness over your life's direction."
  • Letting go of emotional baggage: "If you dream about having sex with your ex, you may not actually want to get back with them, but you should definitely consider what unresolved baggage from your past that you need to connect with and let go."
  • Personal growth: "If you dream about having sex with your friend, think about what are the most important characteristics of your friend.Chances are your mind is trying to teach you how to grow as a person and connect with those admirable personality traits."

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What Can Dreaming About Someone Tell Us

Dreams can not only provide insights into our subconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, and fears. They can also offer a perspective that can help deepen your relationships in ways that support connection and mental well-being.

It is important to remember, Lyon notes, that all the many roles we play in life act as characters that live inside of our minds. The characters we play (such as parents, partners, friends, or colleagues) make up the complete picture of who we are as individuals.

Whenever we are visited by someone in our dreams, we need to consider the literal meaning, but then go deeper to think about how that person in our dreams is teaching us to connect with a new character that lives inside us.


"By learning to understand and accept all of the different characters that live inside of us, we become more complete as a person and can then love others with greater empathy and understanding," Lyon says.

It is important to remember that dream interpretation is highly personal. The specific meaning of someone appearing in a dream depends on factors that are unique to you. Examining your dreams and trying to understand their meanings, both literal and symbolic, can give you greater insights into your own thoughts, emotions, and relationships.

"That's the power of dreams! To help us grow and understand ourselves in ways that we could never do while awake and, from these insights, find peace within ourselves, and carry that peace to others," Lyon says.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does dreaming of someone mean they are thinking of you?

    No, dreaming about someone does not mean that they are thinking about you. Your dreams are highly personal, subjective experiences that are the product of your own individual mind, experiences, perceptions, emotions, and memories.
    If you dream about someone, it is much more likely a reflection of your own thoughts and subconscious feelings instead of an indication of how they are feeling or thinking about you.

    Dreams can provide insights into relationships and help you better understand your feelings. However, it is important not to make inferences about what others might think based on your dreams.

  • Can two people have the same dream?

    Dreams are unique to the individual. While two people can certainly dream about the same topic or have similar dreams, their dreams would still differ in various ways.

    Similarities in dreams between two people are most likely due to factors such as shared experiences, connections, and cultural influences. For example, two friends who attended the same event might have dreams with similar elements.

    Common dream themes do exist that often show up in many people's dreams. Some things that people commonly dream about include being late, falling, flying, school-related activities, sex, and being chased.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone? (2024)


What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone? ›

If you dream about someone, it is much more likely a reflection of your own thoughts and subconscious feelings instead of an indication of how they are feeling or thinking about you. Dreams can provide insights into relationships and help you better understand your feelings.

Is it true if you dream of someone they dream of you? ›

So, “if you're dreaming about [someone], it's not likely they're dreaming about you as well.”

When you dream about someone, are they thinking of you? ›

Dreaming about someone is typically a sign that your brain is processing information, not necessarily that the person in your dream is thinking about you. A person appearing in your dream could have manifested themselves there or may be trying to send you a telepathic message.

What does it mean to dream about a person? ›

These dreams can also represent the desire to tap into your creative energy or other repressed aspects of your personality. Another interpretation is that these dreams reveal subconscious need to bond and connect with the person you're dreaming about.

Why do I dream about a certain person? ›

Dreaming about someone often reflects your recent interactions, thoughts or feelings towards that person, indicating they play a significant role in your daily life or subconscious mind.

Can someone come in your dreams? ›

There is no supernatural reason for a person being in your dream. Your brain simply has a record of a face. Now, if a person you know is in your dream, then that is sheer coincidence. You simply have a memory of that person and what they look like and your subconscious makes it so.

When someone shows up in your dream? ›

If you dream about someone, it is much more likely a reflection of your own thoughts and subconscious feelings instead of an indication of how they are feeling or thinking about you. Dreams can provide insights into relationships and help you better understand your feelings.

How do you know if someone is thinking about you? ›

One of the most reliable ways to differentiate between wishful thinking and someone actually thinking of you is to look for concrete signs, such as unexpected messages or gifts. If someone is truly thinking of you, they may reach out to you in some way, whether through a text message, phone call, or gift.

Why did I dream about my crush? ›

Things You Should Know. Dreaming about your crush often means you spend a lot of time thinking about them. If you dream about your crush texting you or liking you back, it shows that you're confident they have feelings for you.

Why do I dream of him? ›

Often, we dream about people we care about on some level. Sometimes the person just stands for an emotion or an time in your life though subconsciously.

Do dreams have meanings? ›

There's no definitive evidence about what dreams consist of, but it's generally accepted that dreams represent a collection of thoughts, struggles, emotions, events, people, places and symbols that are relevant to the dreamer in some way.

Why do people see you in their dreams? ›

Someone might dream about you if they've seen you recently, if they're processing emotions about you, or if you represent an idea they're working through. When someone dreams about you, it often says more about them than about you, as everything we dream about is a reflection of our own psyche.

What are your dreams telling you? ›

“Dreams are often about identity, because we're figuring out who we are and what we need, and the beliefs and perspectives we hold,” says Wallace. “If you feel unfulfilled, undervalued or not the person you want to be in waking life, your dreams will often reflect that.

Does dreaming of the same person mean anything? ›

Another spiritual interpretation of recurrent dreams involving the same person is that they symbolize aspects of your own psyche. The person appearing in your dreams may not necessarily represent the individual themselves; instead, they might symbolize qualities, emotions, or unresolved conflicts associated with them.

Why does a person keep appearing in my dreams? ›

Some of the reasons we dream about the same people may be: We see them a lot during the day (such as a family member or colleague) Their bond is particularly strong with us, such as a parent. Your dream may be a way of dealing with loss and grief, especially if someone close has passed away.

What does it mean when you remember your dreams? ›

They found that people who report remembering dreams have more activity in the temporoparietal junction. This area of the brain causes people to react more to noises and disturbances during sleep, which means they're more likely to wake up briefly. Those brief periods of waking help solidify the dream into memory.

Is it weird if someone dreams about you? ›

Things You Should Know

When someone dreams about you, it often says more about them than about you, as everything we dream about is a reflection of our own psyche. A nice dream about you might mean they like or admire you, while a negative dream might signify some underlying fear they have about you.

Is it true that if you think about someone, they are thinking about you too? ›

There are certainly times where two people who are close emotionally think about each other at the same time. Many people have such experiences. But, in general, just because you cannot get a person out of your mind does not mean that they are also thinking about you.

Does dreaming about your ex mean they are thinking about you? ›

When you dream about your ex does it mean he misses you? Ex dreams do not indicate anything about your ex's feelings, although they can sometimes be an indication of your own.

Do dreams actually have meanings? ›

The things you do and think about during the day can resurface in dreams, he suggested, while your emotional mindset helps shape their unique content. Domhoff also noted that, although dreams may shed some light on heavy concerns, they might not have any real purpose. You forget most of your dreams, after all.


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