Borderline PD Makes It Difficult to Make and Keep Friends

August 30, 2021 Kate Beveridge

It can be challenging to make and keep friends if you live with any mental illness. If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), your unpredictable behaviors, tumultuous emotions, and fear of abandonment can drive others away. However, managing your BPD symptoms can help you to stabilize your friendships. 

The Challenges of Making Friends with BPD

Everyone can struggle with making friends from time to time. However, I have always found it difficult. I felt paralyzed by shyness and anxiety as a young child, worried about saying the wrong thing. As I got older, these fears lessened but remained inside of me. Even as an adult, I fear that new people will find me boring or not want to interact with me. 

This anxious and avoidant behavior often prevents me from making new friends. For example, I may plan to go to a group meetup and back out at the last moment. It makes me feel more secure to stay at home and not step outside my comfort zone than possibly face rejection. 

I also struggle with intensity sometimes. I get fixated on small things, such as making a new friend. For example, my mind may become obsessive or overly excited about small interactions. I have to focus on calming myself down and not putting too much weight on the new relationship. 

In the following video, I discuss the techniques I use to make new friends:

The Challenges of Keeping Friends with BPD

I have also had a difficult time keeping friends. When I was a teenager and a young adult, I had many friendships that ended with conflict. During those times, I had little to no control over my emotional states. So, I would often verbally fight with my friends or act in ways they didn't want to associate with. Unfortunately, I lost several valuable relationships that had spanned years in length. 

My avoidant behavior also leads to the loss of friendships. If I put off replying to a message for a while, my anxiety heightens with each passing day. If that waiting time stretches to weeks, it is likely that I may never reply. My brain tells me it is easier to avoid the situation than deal with the discomfort of responding so late. 

I have also noticed that many of my friendships have cooled or ended as my life has changed paths. I am no longer a person who drinks or parties. I now have a husband, dogs, and a more stable life. As such, I feel like I have less in common with some people who used to be part of my daily life. 

Overall, I have lost many friends throughout my years. However, the most loyal of my companions remain in my life, even after years of change. These friendships have evolved in many ways, and I feel lucky to still have those strong connections. 

Do you struggle to make or keep your friends? What strategies do you use to overcome these difficulties? Let me know in the comments section below.

APA Reference
Beveridge, K. (2021, August 30). Borderline PD Makes It Difficult to Make and Keep Friends, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Kate Beveridge

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May, 27 2023 at 1:07 pm

I have a relative with BPD. My own therapist said that the behavior of this person was common. I have had tirades directed at me that had nothing to do with me. I also helped this person A LOT during her traumatic event and was told the one thing I didn’t do right. My therapist said many BPDs have unrealistic expectations of help. She said a bottomless pit. My relative fits this description. I’m not trying to put anybody down but I have an illness of my own that makes me quite imperfect, but I’m always grateful for when people help me. this should be some kind of program for people with this condition. It’s like they need to be repaired and said because that’s what they’re looking from for from other people and people don’t have the energy for that and you know they’re not really fun to be around because they never want to go out and have a good time. They just want to sit there and ruminate on every problem they have and it’s just it’s not good it’s different if there’s a trauma but if the person is not in a traumatic situation and they they want to just ruminate constantly it’s not a relationship that anybody wants.

November, 20 2022 at 8:16 pm

I have friends still from Jr. High and High school (on social media at least) but IRL I have none. I isolate and tend to not trust or be suspicious of people. I guess it is a little bit of paranoia? IDK. At any rate, it seems like when I do make a friend, they tend to take advantage of me and then I have to end the relationship.

November, 13 2022 at 2:47 am

It is super hard having BPD as I go from being so bored & lonely by myself I am nearly crazy then I go on holiday I wish I was home as holiday not much fun as I thought.

October, 27 2022 at 2:57 am

All of this resonates with me. I still miss the friends I had in highschool, but as soon as we finished school we grew apart very quickly. I had volatile emotions and made bad choices. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I got a diagnosis and found out I wasn't the only one like that. The road to healing has been hard work, and am only now learning what it takes to be a friend. Listen, think before I speak, remember who I am and what I value, and most importantly have patience with others and show kindness. I try to be ok on my own so that I don't become obsessive over the relationship, and therefore do not have to worry about abandonment.

September, 29 2022 at 12:10 am

I've had friends for 10 or 20 years and then it's just over. No one tells me why. I am emotional and can be volitile. Having a condition doesn't mean that people give you a bit of leeway. I just get blocked. I go from close friend to invisible. As I get older, it gets worse. If I didn't have a partner, I don't think I woud go out and meet anyone - not much point as they will end up ghosting me. Everything that comes out of my mouth is wrong, every decision is wrong. I've done training and it's helped me to be nicer to everyone - but I don't get the same back. Feel like I'm just smashing my head against a brick wll. Being unlovable/unlikeable is pretty hard. Also I'm Childfree by Choice - so I don't fit with many people (talking about and looking at babies/toddlers is so boring to me)

April, 11 2024 at 2:44 pm

Hey, I resonate with much of what you've said here. I am 26 and have BPD. I haven't gone through any sort of training but I try to be a good friend, it's hard. I have ghosted a lot if people recently, only because to me they weren't someone I clicked with in a meaningful way. I am childfree too, It's hard to make friends, a lot of my friends have kiddos, and therefore they have a lot on their plates.
I highly doubt you're unlovable, everyone is lovable. But i know that feeling, and it sucks. I hope you're doing better these days. You're not alone!

September, 14 2022 at 3:03 am

I have had disappointments too with guys.
I am even scared of my family as they tell me to stop thinking about myself & I don't medication, this doesn't help, thankfully I have a gr8 dr though.

Sally Hall
May, 14 2022 at 12:36 pm

I’ve not been diagnosed…but am wondering if I may have BPD. Must all if my friendships have had conflict… around me not being a good reciprocator.

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