Classic dream figures, drawn from the edge of our adolescent circle of friends, are likely to be symbols of aspects of our personality which we first became aware of when we projected them onto these same people back in high school. When these faces show up in our dreams, it means that these same aspects of our own character are resurfacing, and now wear the masks of these old acquaintances for purposes of recognition. Whatever we thought about those people when we knew them, is what we think about these emerging parts of our own psyche now.
Once again, projection is the key. We tend to dream about kids we didn't know that well precisely because--not knowing them well--there is nothing to get in the way of our projections. If we actually knew these people better, our projections would be altered and become more multilayered and complex. The projections we make on our good friends are always more ambiguous and complex.
There is a very common variation on this theme: "I see Joe Schmo--a person I hardly knew in high school and haven't seen or thought about in years--and I sleep with him." When the dream adds this element to the mix, it is most often a symbol of the dreamer's readiness to accept and integrate a part of the self that was projected on Joe Schmo years ago, and which has now spontaneously risen from the dreamer's interior depths and demands to be recognized. This dream is a blood relative of the "my partner is cheating on me" dream. Sometimes the two blend together and the dreamer imagines that the other party in the cheating dream is his or her long-forgotten high school acquaintance.
© Jeremy Taylor, 1996