How come people would say

"I dreamed of you last night!"

Variant 1: "Honey, I dreamed of you last night!"

"Really? What?"

“Well, nothing special now, we were at a motorway service station and you first wanted to have the currywurst, and then you said, no, well, not the currywurst. That's actually it. "

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Variant 2: "Ah, hello, colleague, wherever I meet you, I have to tell you: I dreamed that I would come to your home with an excavator and tear everything down. You should have seen her look! "

Variant 3: "Ms. Merkel, before you open the meeting, allow me to point out that the poncho that you wore in my dream looked very good on you."

It would be easy to prove even with more harmless examples: telling others that you have dreamed about them is a tricky business. Anyone who does that undresses, and the other one too. First of all, yourself, because it allows you to look inside yourself. Because what can be more intimate than your own dreams? Conscious thoughts, daytime fantasies, ideas and plans can be controlled, filtered and explained. But night dreams, the subconscious is in charge, and that means: revelation. In the dream, many people are convinced, the masks fall, no more deceptions and self-delusions, no more half-truths, the naked person shows himself, it seems a little as if one steps before God, who sees everything.

Professionals who do dream research professionally do not agree at all about what dreams want and should (and whether they want and should), maybe dreams channel intense feelings, maybe they dig out hidden desires, help sort out memories ... Or maybe they just give a semblance of meaning to random neural activity. But they are generally perceived as a wise mirror that cannot be fooled.

For those who talk about their dream, that means: The fact that this other person appeared in the dream must have something to say about the owner of the dream. If you then look at what happened in the dream, it becomes even more delicate. Everything can be interpreted. Dreams are seams, they are always on the edge of something bigger, but of what? If he piled up all the dream interpretation books, Elon Musk could save himself the rocket to Mars. In a dream you handed me a spider at my front door? Poisonous animal, desire for revenge! Did you hand me a ring in a dream? Eternal circle, imprisonment, desire for revenge!

In turn, the person who appeared in the dream and is now being told about it is also exposed. She, too, must fear that the clairvoyant magic of the night dream has seen through it, that the core of her being has been recognized: And then I slammed the front door and called the police? Am I really so weak, so defenseless? Do the others see me that way?

Of course, it is always important who is telling whom about the dream. This coordinate system is also full of traps. The closer you stand, the less dangerous it is to tell the other person that he or she was part of a dream. But: the greater the expectation of having played an appropriate role. See variant 1 at the beginning of this text: Within a love affair, the dream of the other should kindly be about moonlight kisses and buttons torn off in romantic greed, not about sausages. Especially not about the fact that you don't want one.

The more socially distant the people are, the lower the expectations of the role in the dream may be. But then it would be better not to have kisses and torn buttons. Even if the action sounds completely insignificant, the other person will ask themselves: Why am I so important to this person that a dream is about me? And: Why is the person telling me about the dream, what is the purpose of it? Is that an approximation? A joke? A hidden threat? It is like the dreams themselves: everything can be interpreted.

And so it happens that most people, when they have dreamed of others, prefer to remain silent. At least that is how the psychology professor Claus-Christian Carbon from the University of Bamberg assesses it. “You will almost never tell the protagonists of your dream about it. Talking about dreams at all is only possible with very confidants - or with people you probably won't meet again, travel acquaintances for example. "

I recently dreamed of a colleague. Together with him I drove to my first apartment of my own, Hagen, Frankfurter Strasse, fourth floor. Because, to my amazement, I found that I was still paying rent for it 23 years after I moved out, 400 euros a month. I thought: well here all the money goes! Then I stood in the hall with my colleague, the landlord was also there, plus the people who lived there despite my rent payments, and the landlord and I agreed to terminate the contract. The colleague said and did nothing, he just stood around.

I told him a few days later. He didn't react either way. Not embarrassed and not carefree. Difficult to interpret.

Claus-Christian Carbon says of the dream: “The people who appear in dreams mostly stand for something. Your colleague maybe for a companion who can give good advice. And who can help you in your uncertainty? "

Although the dream was so completely harmless, although my colleague got off so well and even though I never dreamed of it again, let alone presented him with a spider or a ring or a currywurst: I'm not sure if I would have told him about it should.