People make such a fuss over dreams, but not for the same reason I do. Sure, it’s pretty fascinating just how powerful the imagination really is, and how the inner depths of your mind clearly get a kick out of putting you in some seriously wild scenarios, but why is no one talking about the people who make a cameo in said fantasies? Don’t you find it strange when your ex pops up, or Dream You is head over heels for a complete stranger? And what does it mean to be in someone else’s dream? When you’re the one popping into your mom or best friend’s psyche? Is this the universe’s way of bringing two people closer together, or tearing them apart? I reached out to experts in the space to find out.
To be clear, let me just say that dreams might seem unpredictable and totally farfetched, but even your worst nightmares are usually the result of something or someone in your real life — which, granted, might be a little disturbing if you read too much into them, but generally speaking, the fact that your brain processes the very real emotions you have in such a way that it can generate entirely new, purely fantastical worlds out of a five-minute conversation you had in passing, is downright incredible. What's arguably even more mind-blowing is that, sometimes, dreams bring you along for someone else's ride, too.
In terms of why you might end up in someone else’s dream, Alesandra Woolley, executive editor of the mattress reviews site Mattress Advisor, says it could be that you’ve been spending a lot of time with that person lately, but it’s also possible that you just happened to have a meaningful interaction with the person, and your impression obviously stuck in their mind. “Dreams are one way that our brains process emotions, so any emotion that's linked to an individual relationship or connection can result in them showing up in your dreams,” she tells Elite Daily.
It’s also worth noting that you might pop into someone else’s dream even though you haven’t seen or spoken to them in years. Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of the new book, Training Your Love Intuition, tells Elite Daily that, if someone sees you or a photo that resembles you, talks with people who know you, or comes across a character in a book or movie that made them think of you, odds are you’ll visit them in a dream. In other words, it’s rarely by coincidence, according to Dr. Wish.
All things considered, though, it’s not really surprising that Woolley says the more involved you are in someone’s life, the more likely it is you’ll be in their dreams at some point or another. What is kind of shocking, however, is that “involved” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “close with.” You might see someone on your commute to work every day, never say a word to them, and be the main attraction in their dream, Woolley explains. “Remember, dreams are a reflection of emotions in our waking life — so even if someone made the slightest impression on you, something about them sparks your interest or makes you curious, they can show up in your dream,” she says.
So what’s the meaning behind it all, if closeness isn’t necessarily always a factor? Well, for one, it depends on the person who’s having a dream about you, and their relation toward you, but it can also be rooted in how they would like to be associated with you. For example, say there's someone at work who really admires you, but doesn’t know you that well. If you were just recognized for an impressive accomplishment, Woolley explains, then that person might dream about becoming friends with you.
“[Dreams] could be symbolic of your desire to associate with a person and carry the [honor] they've been recognized for yourself,” she tells Elite Daily. On the other hand, Woolley adds, someone could have a dream about being enemies with you, in which case this type of scenario could represent feelings of jealousy.
When you make an appearance in a loved one’s dream, like a spouse, or even someone who just had strong feelings for you once upon a time, Dr. Wish tells Elite Daily that a high emotional experience is typically the driving force there. “Usually, there is a more powerful reason why you are there — and not somebody else,” she explains. “Even if that person has not had a personal connection, this person could have had a crush on you in high school, and so, when your name was mentioned, or a similar-looking person appeared, you ended up in another person's dream.”
Now, of course, you might not always be the leading lady in someone else's dream. You might even play the villain. Regardless, it's still amazing to think that somewhere out there, sweet dream or not, someone might be dreaming of you. Take it as a compliment, never with a grain of salt, because obviously you've clearly made quite the impression.