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Friend with bipolar disorder- not sure how to behave with her


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Hi everyone,

I'm new here and would really appreciate some advice. My friend has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Apparently it was mild at the beginning, but her fiancé recently breaking up with her exacerbated the illness, and she started behaving like I have never seen her behave before: sexual promiscuity, talking loudly, shouting and insulting people, publicising her feelings of antagonism towards her ex on facebook. In addition to this she is being disrespectful of my time: I once went to pick her up from work, and I waited for over 2 hours- she did not leave me a text/email/message to let me know of her lateness, so I left. Apparently she had no battery on her phone, but when I told her she could have facebooked me or emailed me, she got really upset and justified her behaviour on the basis that the day before she had tried to commit suicide (an event she publicised on facebook). We've made up since then, but now she will ask to meet on the very day, or the following day, and if I agree she will cancel the date a few hours in advance of the agreed time.

Prior to these incidents I repeatedly told her that she could count on me, and I let her know that I was concerned, and that if there was anything I could do to help her she need only ask. Once, after she stared cancelling on me, she phoned me quite late at night, and she seemed overly concerned to waste my time, despite my repeated assurances that she was giving me no trouble. Whilst I was away, to help with a relative's wedding she would send me funny messages on whatsapp and we would chat briefly.

I don't resent her tendency to be disrespectful of my time- I appreciate it's because she has a mental issue- but I don't know what to do about it. When she asks me to meet on the day or the following day, I feel compelled to agree to see her (if I don't have plan for that day)- even though I already know what's going to happen. I feel I'm in a false position because I wouldn't want her to think that I'm not there for her, but one side of me says that allowing her to behave this way is not really of any help. I'm afraid of upsetting her by being explicit about her boundary busting habit, but I'm also afraid of turning down her requests to see me in case she thinks she can't count on me anymore.


Can you please share any advice you might have?


Thanks in advance


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Sorry nobody got back to you on this.

Sounds like your friend is craving attention, not abnormal after a life changing event has occurred.

I think communicating is important, set boundaries that you are prepared to enforce. Although she is going through a rough patch don't take her problems on as your own. Help as much as you feel comfortable to and don't be afraid to say no if she is crossing the line.

Talk to her about how you feel, it may be hard and I know you don't want her to think of you in a negative way, but if you don't do this your friendship will end up breaking down because of the resentment that will inevitably build up.

She also needs to understand that although you are there for her she needs to respect you and your feelings in return, friendships and relationships rarely work when they are one way.


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