Dreams of Old Friends |

5 min read

Stella’s dream about reconnecting with an old friend first evoked a sense of familiarity and warmth but ultimately left her feeling “very shaken.” As she considered what this old friend meant to her, she realized that her feelings back then offered guidance for her responses in a current relationship.

Stella’s Dream

“I have a friend I lost touch with over the past two years since her husband initiated an emotional affair with me. Now, I don’t communicate with either of them.

“In the dream, she is at her engagement party. She is very short, which I notice because when we hug, she reaches my chest. It feels so familiar and warm. When we look at each other, though, I see her face is totally different from what I remember, and I awake very shaken.”

The Discussion

Noticing Stella’s description of her friend’s face in the dream, I began by asking, “Did you recently feel that someone or something familiar to you is different or changed from what you are accustomed to? Perhaps making you feel surprised or shaken?”

This clicked with Stella. “Yes. A different friend from the one in the dream, whom I’d also lost touch with, texted me randomly the day before the dream. I was surprised and touched but then worried when she didn’t answer my reply.

“We had previously worked together, which had given us lots of organic opportunities to connect. About three years ago, when we left our jobs, our relationship became more intermittent. We texted, talked, and met up sporadically, but we haven’t been in touch at all these last few months.

“When I got her message, I was going to text back and then thought, I want to talk to her and connect! She didn’t return my call, and I felt disappointed. She just wanted to drop in and out of the conversation—light texting and then floating away again, which would have made sense for me, too, a little while ago.

“Maybe that’s the difference in our height in the dream? It’s like a reflection of my growth in this regard.”

In response, I offered some thoughts.

“We have certain associations in our mind to people we have met, according to how they made us feel or what kind of relationship we’ve had with them. Then, if we’re mulling over a recent issue with a relationship, we might dream about someone else who made us feel similarly in the past.

“For example, if I’m bothered because my husband did or said something that made me feel rejected, someone from my past who rejected me might appear in my dream.

“In other words, if you’re feeling disappointed or rejected today, it very well may spark the appearance of someone from your past who evoked similar feelings.”

Processing this information, Stella offered, “So I’m making associations between friends who I feel disappointed with or friends from whom I expect more than I should and end up disappointed. So, this friend I used to work with ends up reminding me of my friend whose husband initiated an emotional affair with me.”

Source: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Source: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

I concurred, “The two friends are linked together here for a reason. They are not random picks. I wonder about how, in your dream, you thought of your first friend, the one whose husband started your discomfort.

“I love how, in your dream story, it’s precisely that old girlfriend who is getting married. In other words, she is making a commitment to a man who has the potential to have an emotional relationship elsewhere. This friend presents all kinds of problems associated with emotional commitment.”

Stella continued the thought, “Similarly, and to take this further, here I am, thinking about becoming emotionally connected again to a newer friend who also doesn’t have what it takes to commit.

“I do recognize that we both had trouble communicating and sharing our interest in each other at the time. It seems like a bad choice to be looking in this dream for what I have grown away from, literally.”

I responded, “Yes. Your dream is reflecting your personal growth, literally. You seem to know deep inside that this person isn’t the right choice for you. You want to surround yourself with the people you deserve, people who have the capacity for a longer-term relationship.”

Stella agreed, “This makes a lot of sense to me. I never realized how the people who show up in your dreams might reflect similarities to your other experiences and relationships. This is amazing to know.”

What We Can Learn

In our collection of memories, we build a complex system of associations among the different people and relationships in our lives. As situations arise, these associations can manifest themselves in our dreams.

As you thoughtfully reflect on the feelings and symbols in your dream, you will find they often connect a relationship or emotion in the present with similar circumstances and feelings from your past, reminding you of how you responded before.

Does the approach you adopted back then fit today’s circumstances? Was it successful, and does it apply today? Perhaps, as Stella seems to have realized, the rekindled memory reminds you of what you don’t want to repeat. Hindsight in the making.

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