What Do Dreams About Friends Really Mean?

It’s time to get decoding.

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Your dreams reflect on and draw inspiration from your real life. Friends typically play an important part in your life so, of course, they are going to meet you and you are going to meet them again and again in your dreams. But while your friends might be a headliner in your dreams because you see them every day, their guest appearances — like everything else in dreams — may also carry some special meaning. So what does it mean when you dream about your best friend? What does it mean when you dream about someone you know or have just met?

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It feels good when a friend tells you that they dreamt about you, doesn’t it. It feels reassuring because you or something about you has inspired their dreaming mind to carry on your waking conversation at a deeper level. Although this is true to some extent the cold hard truth is that your friend hasn’t really been dreaming about you at all. Most people assume that when someone appears in their dream, that the dream is about that person or is meant for that person. This is rarely the case. From a Jungian dream interpretation perspective people in dreams reflect your inner life, revealing aspects of your own personality. Many professional dream decoders, myself included (and I reinforce this in my bestselling Dream Dictionary and Dream Decoder) believe that the majority of people seen in dreams are a subjective representative rather than an objective one. Every person in your dreamworld throws some revealing light on some aspect of your inner world — be it your hopes and fears, or aspects of your personality that you need to control or cultivate. And this is especially the case with friends appearing in your dreams because many of us count our friends as our most significant and cherished relationships.

Naturally, there's a little bit more to it than that. So, to help you think along the right lines, here are some common dream themes featuring your true friends.

A Friend

Your dreaming mind projects aspects of yourself onto people you are close to in your waking life in order to make you aware of aspects of your character that are being neglected or which need to be developed. Think of your friend as a metaphor for something about you that you need to understand or integrate for your personal growth. To repeat: It’s really not about them. It’s all about you.

Of course, different dream meanings apply depending on the friend. But in the majority of cases seeing a friend in a dream symbolizes some aspect of their personality that you may have avoided or rejected until now, but are ready to think about incorporating into your own life. For instance, a dream about your most organized friend might be a sign that you're ready to try to get a handle on the more out-of-control aspects of your work life. A dream about a friend with a great sense of humor may be a signal to inject more fun into your personal life and soon.

Pay particular attention to how the friend in your dream behaves. If they interact with you in a familiar way this suggests you feel at ease with yourself. If, however, they act out of character or act oddly, your dreaming mind is alerting you to an aspect of yourself you feel uneasy with.

Your Best Friend

Should your best friend make a cameo in your night vision this has a very similar interpretation to dreaming about one of your friends as outlined above. Just add an extra big energy boost to that interpretation. Your dreaming mind is using the symbol of your very best friend to boldly underline the point that you really, really need to notice or integrate some quality that your best friend has.

An Acquaintance

Were you worried that you could only suss out the meaning of very close friends in your dreams, because you know them so well? Well, fear not — it’s also possible to decode the meaning of that dream you keep having about Dawn from Accounts Receivable (her name is Dawn, right?). Whereas dreams about your best friends are in your face, dreams about acquaintances or people you barely know or have just met, are more like a gentle nudge. They are reminding you that there are still significant parts of yourself you have yet to get to know better — you know, like Dawn. No, wait, her name is Emily! Oh god, did I ever call her Dawn to her face?

A Childhood Friend

Dreaming about the kids you used to play "Bombardment" with? Any dream that points back to your childhood in some way is highly significant. It is during childhood that we develop our personalities and become socialised. So if you are dreaming of childhood friends this isn’t nostalgia. Your dreaming mind is taking you right back to your childhood to focus on lessons you learned, or failed to learn then and these lessons may be relevant to your current situation.

Childhood friends can also indicate a desire to be more spontaneous and carefree. Perhaps you want to escape the rules and responsibility of your adult life? They can also signify feelings that you have recently been acting in an immature manner, but it's probably the first one, right? Also, guys, did you know that there's a variation of dodgeball called "Dr. Dodgeball"? I just learned that right now, while I was checking to see if I was correctly remembering the name of "Bombardment." Maybe you could play that to help blow off some of the pressures and stresses of adulthood. In short, add a little more spontaneity and laughter into your daily life. Your inner child is feeling starved of it.

A Long-Lost Friend

Sometimes your dreaming mind throws into your mind friends you rarely think about or have long forgotten. Is this a sign that you want to get back in touch with them or that you should get in touch with them? In the overwhelming majority of instances, no. Their appearance in your dream scene is a metaphor for some neglected or forgotten aspect of yourself that you'd like to reconnect with or could benefit from reconnecting with. A hobby you put aside? A course of study you gave up on? Those Skype tap-dancing classes that you just stopped showing up for? It could be anything, really.

A Former Friend

Your dreaming mind may also reunite you with someone you would rather not think about. That person isn’t in your life anymore for a good reason. Perhaps you purposely lost contact with them or they cut you out of their life. It happens! If you have this kind of dream it represents a lesson that you still haven’t quite learned from the break up. You need to see if you can apply what you learned from a failed relationship to a current relationship or situation or issue you have. On the other hand, dreaming about ex friends can also mean simply that you've recently encountered something or someone in your waking life that reminded you of them — maybe something pleasant, like a band you both liked, or maybe something more negative, like the issue that ended your friendship.

A Dying Friend

Dreaming that someone you care about is dying or dead can be really alarming. You may wake up in the morning urgently wanting to check that they are okay. Rest assured, real life isn’t like the movies. You haven’t had a premonition. Premonitions can and do happen and I explored this exceedingly rare phenomenon in a book I co-authored with neuroscientist, Dr Julia Mossbridge called The Premonition Code, but there are sure-fire signs that distinguish those kinds of dreams from symbolic dreams and they are about a potential future, the future is not fixed. So, you don’t have some secret inside information about your friend's health. Typically, your friend is in the dream to inform you that a certain aspect of yourself is dying within you or that you are anxious about it dying. This dream could also indicate that your friendship with this person is changing or needs to adapt in some way.

Hooking Up With A Friend

There are few dreams more unnerving than the "sleeping with a friend whom I only have platonic feelings for" dream (well, the "all my teeth fell out" one is pretty unnerving, too). Dreams about hooking up with a friend that you really and truly only like as a friend typically just symbolize that they have some personal quality that you'd like to make part of your own life. It might even just symbolize how close you feel to your friend — after all, when are you more vulnerable than when you are getting intimate? So just try your best to take it all in stride. You really don’t secretly fancy them in that way. Your dreaming mind has simply latched onto something about them, some quality they have or something they do, that you really need to get into you.

In Summary

As a rule of thumb whenever a buddy pops up in your dreams you need to immediately ask yourself probing questions like these: What in a single word describes my current opinion of my friend? What is my friend doing in my dream that I am doing (or not doing) in my waking life? What do I admire about them? What do I envy about them? What do I really feel about them? What can they teach me?

Your friend is chosen for symbolic reasons. We all come to associate certain friends with certain characteristics or actions. Consider what those associations reflect or say about you. If you can listen to your dream friends they may be able to help you deal with any conflict and confusion you are experiencing in your waking life, and help you grow up as a person too.

According to ancient dream lore, meeting friends in your dreams is a sign of impending good fortune. I couldn’t agree more. In both our dreams and our waking lives we all need really good friends.

Additional reporting contributed by Gabrielle Moss.

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