Fairy tales often break things down into groups of three, like the Three Little Pigs and the Three Bears. Having the number 3 prominent in your dream can take on a similarly mythic significance.
Number 3 Dream Summary
Number 3 Dream Symbolism
The symbolism of the number 3 often makes the most sense in relation to the symbolism of the number 2. Where 2 is content and complacent, 3 might add competition and conflict. However, where 2 is stuck in a conflict between two fixed perspectives, 3 can show a third way out.
Common Number 3 Dreams
- Dream of three people
- Dream of three doors
Number 3 Dream Symbolism
Dreaming of the number 3 could alternately symbolize expanding a two-person relationship in a way that is welcome. For example, you and your partner might be expecting your first child, bringing your family of two to a family of three.
Other possibilities include you and your roommate taking on another roommate, or your business partnership taking on a third partner, or a polyamorous relationship expanding to include a third partner. However, even a wanted expansion could change the dynamics of your existing relationship, so examine other features of your dream to see if they reveal any imbalances that are developing within your triad.
Dreaming of the number 3 could symbolize a situation where you feel like you have a rival for the attention of someone significant. This would be expanding a two-person relationship in a way that is not welcome, and the difficult emotional atmosphere of the dream would likely reflect that.
Perhaps you feel like you have to compete with a sibling for the attention of your mother. Alternately, maybe your best friend has gotten close with another friend, or you might think your romantic partner is checking out someone else.
Sometimes in a conflict between two people, a third person can be helpful as a mediator. A positive dream of the number 3 could symbolize that there is a third way out of a seemingly intractable conflict between two opposing sides.
Sometimes in a conflict between two people, a third person can just keep the drama going longer. The Karpman Drama Triangle notes that many conflicts between three people break down into roles of Persecutor, Victim, and Rescuer.
A difficult dream of the number 3 could symbolize that you have gotten entrenched in a conflict similar to the Karpman Drama Triangle, where all of the parties involved are feeding off of each other.
Many religions see three faces of the divine. Christianity has the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while Pagan traditions have the Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. If something like this is part of your religion, a positive dream of the number 3 could reflect that you feel supported by your spiritual tradition.
Some ways of understanding people with psychology also break things down into threes. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud divided the mind into the id, the ego, and the superego. The id represents desires, while the superego represents the prohibitions from society that stop people from acting on their desires. The ego negotiates between the id and the superego.
Psychiatrist Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis makes a similar claim that each person has Parent, Adult, and Child ego states. The Adult must come to a rational decision incorporating both the instructions of the Parent and the feelings of the Child.
A contentious dream of the number 3 could symbolize that you are experiencing conflict within yourself that might break down along the lines that Freud or Berne proposed. Perhaps your rationality is conspiring with your desire for social acceptance to crush your passion – or maybe your rationality is conspiring with your passion to concoct a reason why whatever society wants you to do can be ignored.
Common Number 3 Dreams
Dream of three people
If you have a dream of three people, you might think about whether there is a group of three people that is significant in your waking life.
For example, if you have three brothers, and you are currently trying to resolve a family matter with them in your waking life, your dream of three unfamiliar men might represent your three brothers. Seeing your brothers cast as strangers, without all of the other associations you have with them, could help you see the roles they are playing in the family matter more clearly.
Another big question, when you say you have a dream of three people, is whether you are one of the three people yourself, or if your dream depicts a group of three people that you are watching or engaging with as an outsider.
If you are one of the three people, the dream could be about a situation where you and another person are competing for the attention of a third person. You might reflect on whether you would find the person you are competing for as interesting if you didn’t have to compete with anyone else for them.
If you are an outsider looking at a group of three other people, the dream could be about you feeling excluded or lonely. Alternately, the three other people might represent three aspects of yourself, like your ego, superego, and id.
Dream of three doors
If you are trying to make a big decision, a dream of three doors or three houses could depict your options. Try to figure out which waking life option the characteristics of the door or house you feel most drawn to approach in the dream remind you of. This could be an especially interesting dream if you have convinced yourself that there are only two options in your waking life.
Your dream of the number 3 may feel intense. Even if you suspect that it refers to a conflict you know you are having with two other people, some of the most dramatic conflict the number 3 can indicate takes place within yourself.
Eva Sylwester has been fascinated with the interpretation of dreams since middle school. She got a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Oregon in 2007. After that, she began exploring astrology and other new frontiers in spirituality. In her approach, the goal of dream interpretation is to help the dreamer articulate their own intuition. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, United States.