What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone? This Expert Says It Might Not Be What You Think

Ad failed to load

In a dream I had a few nights ago, my friend Cyrus and I were trying to save an apartment building in Scotland from burning to the ground. A few nights later, I dreamed that I slept with my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Forbes, and the whole time, I was really worried about what she thought about my body. Super weird, right? Upon waking, it really got me wondering, why am I dreaming about these particular people? Like, what does it mean when you dream about someone?

According to clinical psychologist Dr. John Mayer, dreaming about a particular person can mean a variety of things, and it can happen for a whole host of reasons.

He shares with Elite Daily why certain people might be appearing in your dream world:

Ad failed to load

He adds that you don't really know how that "data" stored in your "computer" (aka the thoughts, memories, perceptions, and experiences you might have had throughout the day, or even in the days prior) might appear in a dream. And as for why these people enter your dreams in the first place, you might have had a thought, sensation, or experience that stimulated an association with someone — without even being aware of it.

Ad failed to load

"We have no control of how all that information you receive during the day might show up as you sleep," Dr. Mayer explains. "That's why it can sometimes make people uncomfortable."

Yeah, sleeping with your kindergarten teacher is definitely uncomfortable, my dude.

Here are a few other common people you might tend to dream about while you're sleeping, and what it might mean about your relationship with them.

Ad failed to load

1Your Parents

Giphy

Dr. Mayer tells Elite Daily there's no one-size-fits-all reason for why someone shows up in your dream, and that it's pretty unique to each person and their experiences and associations.

So, if your parents are showing up in your dream, yes, it could symbolize an unresolved issue or childhood memory. But it could also be a lot more simple or even more random than that.

For example, Dr. Mayer explains, say your mother gave you a coat, and you decided to wear it one day. Even if you don't really consciously think about your mom much while you have that coat on, she's still implicitly associated with the object, and those subconscious associations can absolutely show up in your dreams.

The dream might also be sparked by a feeling. Like, if you're feeling lonely throughout the day, for example, and you think about calling your mother. That "data" might show up in a dream represented by your mother's presence.

2A Celebrity

While it could be as simple as seeing a movie that celebrity was in, or having a major crush on said star, Dr. Mayer brings it back to your perceptual mind, and the data you perceive throughout the day that might not make its way to your conscious thoughts:

Crazy stuff, right?

3Your Ex

Giphy

Dr. Mayer says worry not about this one, even though he admits many of his patients often do. Dreaming about your ex doesn't mean you're still in love or have unresolved feelings, or even that you're unhappy with your current relationship status, whatever it may be.

Maybe you had great sex with this partner and you're yearning for physical contact. Or, again, maybe it's as simple as contact with an object; perhaps you used a scented lotion that you often used around the time you dated your ex.

That said, dreams can be a great way to start unpacking what might be going on with you if it feels like it might be deeper than just random data.

Dreams come as a result of your mind putting these connections and associations together in ways that might not always make sense to you, so it doesn't hurt to try to wrap your brain around them, know what I'm saying?

Ad failed to load

4Your Friend

Dr. Mayer says friends are a good example of how intricate the reasons can actually be for why a person is popping up in your dreams. He gives the example of the Chicago Marathon being a potential catalyst for a dream about his friend with whom he once ran the marathon.

He tells Elite Daily,

Anyone else feeling seriously mind-blown yet?

5Your Boss

When it comes to dreaming about a boss, or a similar figure of authority, Dr. Mayer says to consider the fundamental concepts behind that person as they relate to you. Maybe your boss represents hard work and demands for you. Maybe they symbolize strength and motivation. Or maybe it's just simply stress and work anxiety.

Again, Dr. Mayer says that analyzing the people who appear in your dreams can be a really telling and interesting peek into your mind that could ultimately lead to some pretty cool self-discovery.

And that's really what we're all after in this life, amirite?

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

3 Important Red Flags To Watch Out For When You're Dating Someone Older Than You

My first serious relationship was with someone almost ten years my senior. We got together during my first semester of college (after meeting through mutual friends) and I'd be lying if I said our breakup didn't have anything to do with our significa…
By Sydnee Lyons

These "Millennial Cruises" Will Make Your Next Friend Group Vacation So Lit

If you're a millennial right now, consider yourself lucky. If you're a millennial with the travel bug, consider yourself luckier. I know, you might be thinking, "But... money!" Trust me, I get it. Plane tickets and hotels can get expensive as you cou…
By Amanda Fama

5 Trends From The '90s Are Making A Serious Comeback, So Somebody Page Cher Horowitz

I was born in the '90s and my childhood was one Caboodles train case packed with scrunchies and butterfly clips after another. If you could believe it, early '90s fashion is already considered vintage (I officially feel old AF) and according to sprin…
By Stephanie Montes

5 Social Things You Can Do To Feel Less Lonely If You’re Single

Being single and being lonely don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Just because you don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean you aren’t surrounded by wonderful people who love and care about you. But once in a while (especially if you’ve been single fo…
By Veronica Lopez

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas