Living with Bipolar—Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends?

Last Updated: 24 Aug 2018

If you are having trouble forming new lasting  friendships, improving your listening skills may be a new tactic to try.


I’ve often wondered if I’m going to be a loner for life or it I can finally have a circle of friends.

Making friends has always been hard for me. One of the reasons I think it’s hard for us is that as people with bipolar…we tend to feel our feelings very intensely, sometimes they hit us right out of the blue.

In our desire to be truthful and authentic, we overdo it—we figure, They don’t have bipolar disorder so they won’t really understand. We overdo the explaining and run right over healthy boundaries.

Other people, who have feelings of their own, feel unseen and unheard and they drift away.

Those invitations, such as “Let’s do lunch?”—they never happen.

Here’s what I’ve been trying on for size: talking less than the other person. [I’m trying to] wait for at least two seconds before responding to what they have to say.

Trust me, it’s a stretch…but if I equalize the back and forth, people tend to stick around.

Friends who have known me for years say, “Allison, what happened with you? You’ve changed!”

So let me ask: Do you have a tough time keeping your conversations brief?

Or…if you are balancing things, how are you doing it?

In the replies section below, please share your thoughts so we can troubleshoot this together.

I’m Allison Strong for bp Magazine’s bphope Vlog..and if you haven’t asked another person, “How are you today?” Do it! Have a great day. Ciao!

Learn more:

VIDEO: Life with Bipolar—Do People Say, “You’re Too Intense?”

VIDEO: Confessions of a Body Perfectionist Living with Bipolar Disorder

About the author
Allison went to Stanford University on a volleyball scholarship, played professional beach volleyball, and has acted in TV and film. In the past, she has also been an Alternative Rock Disc Jockey for “The Edge,”“The Q” (Phx,Az) and “The X,” (LA). She also was an international music critic for Melody Maker (UK), had a weekly column (“New Noise”) in the Arizona Republic and wrote for Hits Magazine. When she had her first manic episode, she went inpatient and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Undaunted, she mailed out job applications (from the hospital) and landed at a local station. She loves the raw honesty of The Smiths, Nirvana, The Cure, etc, and follows new music today. Allison lives in Hollywood, Florida and also writes for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, International Bipolar Foundation, Psych Central, and NewLifeOutlook Bipolar. Her personal blog is: Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause.
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  2. I know how you feel. I feel like a loner but dont really want to be. Plus o think the stigma bipolar has just gives us all bad names. I mean why would they want to be our friend. Always alone, just hope I dont start forcing myself on people. Lol oh well

  3. Seems the Bipolars in Developed countries are also superior to the Bipolars in the 3rd world just as it is with the normal world, am thought of great and one of the 1st Bipolars to speak out in my country but am humbled by what you write here.

  4. I tend to not have patience with people and drama so I cut off friendships easily when they hit a bump in the road. As a result I don’t have any friends at all anymore.

  5. I don’t have one friend. I isolate myself because I feel as I’m not cool enough. I don’t feel like I have anything in common with people. I’m desperate to get help on this situation. Even at church I feel awkward…

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