What It Means When You Dream About Someone

What are these dreams trying to tell you?

woman sleeping Leszek Glasner / Shutterstock

What does it mean when you dream about someone?

A good night’s sleep is essential to your mental and emotional well-being. Whether you remember them or not, your dreams are an integral part of this process.

Your dreams bring you insights into a current situation in your life and they can also help you process difficult emotions.

There are different theories about the meaning behind your dreams. Some theories assert that the symbols in dreams are universal. 


This theory makes sense if you're dreaming about your teeth falling out, which probably represents anxiety. But not everyone feels the same way about snakes, spiders, or even what death represents.

RELATED: The 14 Most Common Ex-Boyfriend Dreams — And What They Really Mean

What does it mean when you dream about someone? It doesn’t mean that they're thinking about you or that you are going to see them soon.

Dreams are not triggered by an external event, rather they are expressions of your own unconscious needs and desires.

Paying attention to your dream life can give you valuable insights regardless of who you are dreaming about.


By examining what it means when you dream about someone — whether you're dreaming about someone you like or dreaming about someone you haven’t met yet, you can identify patterns and process emotions that can support you in living a more joy-filled life.

So, what does it mean when you dream about someone? 

Whether that person is a family member, boss, a friend, or a past lover, it has more to do with you than it does about them. Most importantly is how you feel about the people in your dreams and what they represent to you.

Some dream interpreters have built a case that everyone in the dream is a version of you. In this case, how you feel about the people in your dreams and what they mean to you will give you the best insights into the meaning of the dream.

You can speculate about what it means when you dream about an acquaintance versus what it means when you dream about someone you like, but there are other important factors that can help you understand what the dream is really about.


What time of night did you have the dream?

There are three stages of REM during an average night’s sleep and the dreams that occur during each stage have different functions.

The first stage is called the Wishful Thinking Stage.

During this stage, your mind is organizing all the information that you’ve collected over the day. You could imagine it’s like your mind is taking all that information and putting it into specific categories.

Dreams during this stage are usually not remembered because they occur shortly after you first fell asleep. These are also the type of dreams you experience when you take a short nap.

The second stage is called the Precognitive Stage.


During this stage, your mind is attempting to predict where you're going, based on the information it sorted during the Wishful Thinking Stage.

For example, if you're having a lot of conflict in your life, you may have upsetting dreams about fighting someone or someone you don’t like.

This doesn’t mean that bad things are actually going to happen. It means that your subconscious is attempting to predict where you are going based on your current circumstances.

Dreams during this stage are rarely remembered unless they are so powerful that they wake you up in the middle of the night.

The third stage is called the Venting Stage.

The dreams you remember occur during the final REM stage in the morning before waking up. During this stage, your mind is attempting to vent out or release something that is no longer needed.


These dreams can also be about integrating new information.

When you dream about someone who's already dead in your early morning venting dreams, it could be that you’re attempting to come to terms with something in your life that is coming to an end.

Stage one is sorting information. Stage two is attempting to predict the future. And stage three is about letting go of or integrating new information or learning.

RELATED: What Your Dream About Being Pregnant Actually Means

What do the symbols in your dreams mean?

Your subconscious mind communicates to you through images, symbols, and metaphors. The symbols in your dreams mean something specific to you, however, they probably don’t mean what you think they mean.


Symbolic images represent something deeper than what appears on the surface. The symbol of dreaming about your parents or dreaming about an ex isn’t necessarily about those people.

Instead, the people you dream about are a symbol of something inside of you.

Write down the details of your dream when you first wake up. Keep a journal beside your bed and set the intention that you will remember your dreams when you wake up.

Sort the details of your dream into two categories: common and unusual.

The common details are not that important to your understanding of the dream. It is the unusual details that your subconscious is highlighting for you. So take note of anything odd or out of place.


Identify your feelings about the unusual details as well as your primary emotion in the dream. This will give you insights into what your subconscious mind is attempting to vent out or integrate.

Another important symbol is The Timing Cue. This is something in the dream that informs you of when this emotional story originated.

For example, if you're dreaming about an angry boss but you are in your grade school classroom then this emotional story began in grade school, and you are attempting to release it now.

What does it mean when you dream about someone more than once? 

Pay attention to any recurring dreams, they're attempting to share something important with you.


If you're dreaming about someone or something more than once, it's because you're not getting the message or are stuck and unable to resolve a situation in your life.

Your dreams are there to help you integrate new information and release feelings that are no longer serving you.

Take time to analyze your recurring dreams so that you can resolve whatever is troubling you and get unstuck from an uncomfortable emotional situation.

What does it mean when you dream about someone you used to love? 

Putting all the pieces together, identify the following:

The time of night that the dream occurred.


The primary emotion.

The unusual symbols and how they make you feel.

The timing cue to reveal when the pattern originated.

The answers will give you the insight you need to understand why you’ve been dreaming about your ex and will hopefully bring you peace of mind.

Discovering this insight will not only allow you to feel relieved about the nature of the dream, but it will also allow you to integrate any learning you need to resolve the emotional pattern that your subconscious chose to highlight for you.

Instead of getting fixated on who you're dreaming about and taking the dream literally, focus on your emotional response to the dream.

Look at what's currently going on in your waking life and see if there is a situation that feels similar. The dream is an attempt to resolve your emotional distress.


Most importantly, remember that the dreams in the final REM stage are Venting Dreams so when you wake up, you can think about it like you just took out the trash instead of fixating on the details.

That should lead to a better night’s sleep.

RELATED: 7 Steps To Teach You How To Control Your Dreams And Escape Even Your Worst Nightmares

Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s "The Millionaire Matchmaker." They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. If you want to find your soulmate, download their free report, "7 Steps To Soulmating" from their website.