When you find yourself dreaming about someone you are no longer friends with or haven't seen in a long time, you'll probably wake up confused. These dreams about someone from your past may have you wondering if you should reconnect with that person, or what it even means when they enter your nighttime thoughts. But, in reality, a dream about someone you don’t talk to anymore isn’t really about the ghosts from your past — it has more to do with yourself.
It's common to dream about people who are currently in your life. But when you occasionally find yourself dreaming about people from your past that you haven't seen or even thought of in a long time, it can have you overthinking in spirals. "The thing to remember about dreams is that everything and everyone in your dream represents some part of you or something that directly affects you," professional dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells Bustle. "That being said, when you dream of a person you haven't seen in forever, or a person you don't deal with on a daily basis, or someone who doesn't even actually exist, they will represent a part of your personality."
Dreaming about other people can be a way for you to gain a better understanding of yourself and your behavior. If there's something that needs to be worked through and addressed in your waking life, it might show up in your dream in some way. Many times, it will show up in the form of a person in your past or present. Before you rush to conclusions, here's what experts have to say.
What It Means If You Dream About Someone From Your Past
Many people will dream about old friends and classmates from all the way back in elementary school. It can be a little strange, especially if you haven't seen or heard from a particular person in years. If this is the case, think about the person that you once knew and the traits they have that stick out to you the most. According to Loewenberg, that outstanding quality or fault is a trait that you may have.
"There was a time when I kept dreaming about this kid named Jeff from third grade," Loewenberg says. "I don't remember his last name, but I do remember that he was the shyest person I've ever known. I realized, he would show up in my dreams when I wasn't speaking up about something in real life, or when I wasn't taking action on something I needed to. My subconscious was saying to me, 'Well you may as well just be Jeff.'"
It doesn't matter what the person is like now. They're showing up in your dream as a way for you to pay attention to something important that needs to be addressed in your life at the moment. Studies show that your dream consciousness is very similar to your waking consciousness, so dreaming about someone you don’t talk to anymore points to daily emotions you’re currently feeling (and may need to process).
You should also take note of how people from your past are acting in your dream. For instance, are they helping you, or are they angry and threatening? According to Loewenberg, their behavior in the dream will be directly connected to how a part of you is behaving in real life. "They're showing you this behavior from a different perspective so you can better understand yourself," she says. Analyzing the dream and turning it into your own life is one method to get to the root of what's been on your mind lately.
People will randomly show up in your dreams for all kinds of different reasons. If you're into astrology, Joy Strong, transformation life coach and professional dream analyst, tells Bustle that planetary retrogrades can stimulate subconscious thoughts from the past to reappear.
"It's important to consider that just because someone shows up in your awareness does not dictate whether or not they should have a current role in your life," Strong says. This is important to keep in mind if you find yourself dreaming about an ex you haven't thought about in forever and you're wondering if you should reach out.
Dreams have more to say about you than the people in it. So if you find yourself dreaming about anyone from your past or present, think about what they could represent in your own life. If they're showing up in your dream, there's something worth paying attention to.
Franklin, M.S. (2005). The Role of Dreams in the Evolution of the Human Mind, Sage Journals, https://doi.org/10.1177/147470490500300106.
Nir, Y. (2010), Dreaming and the brain: from phenomenology to neurophysiology, Trends Cogn Sci., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814941/.
Lauri Loewenberg, dream expert, author of Dream on It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life
Joy Strong, transformation life coach and professional dream analyst
This article was originally published on