How can I find new friends if I have bipolar disorder?

John Preston, PsyD
If you have bipolar disorder and if you attend a group exercise program, perhaps a yoga or spinning class, you can develop a friendly relationship with someone who shares your commitment to staying healthy through exercise. If you're only friendly before, during, or after exercise, you may want to extend an invitation for coffee or a smoothie after your exercise class and see how your friendship grows from there. Religious institutions are also good places to find people with whom to develop friendships. Most religious institutions offer opportunities for social networking through various groups or volunteer opportunities.

If you're taking a class and are part of a study group with whom you spend a lot of time, you can include the group as part of your social support network or choose one or two individuals with whom you feel some connection. To begin a friendship, you can start by saying hello to someone you've casually conversed with before, during, or after the class. You can talk about something that happened in class and then extend an invitation for coffee, a movie, dinner, or shopping to find class-related gear or equipment. You may not make a connection on your first attempt, but if you have few friends now, the effort it takes to persist is worth the eventual payoff in social support.

You may also have colleagues at work with whom you've developed a good working relationship. Perhaps you could invite them to a social event, such as bowling or a movie, outside of working hours. Getting involved in volunteer activities can bring you in touch with others who share your interests, and helping others is also a way to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of depression. Joining groups focused on specific interests or activities, such as book clubs, knitting groups, or chess clubs, is a good way to find people with whom you have things in common and therefore can develop supportive friendships.
Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

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Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

After receiving a bipolar diagnosis, you need clear answers. Bipolar 101 is a straightforward guide to understanding bipolar disorder. It includes all the information you need to control your...
If you have bipolar disorder, one effective way to meet new friends is to involve yourself in social groups and activities you enjoy. Joining a recreational club, taking a class, or even meeting a coworker for coffee can be a means to developing a new friendship. Centering relationships around common interests, such as hobbies or common vocations, can be a great way to foster sturdy relationships. Avoid activities and areas which are likely to induce stress or anxiety, and instead, seek out those which bring pleasure. If you feel your new friend is instigating stress or anxiety, remove yourself from the relationship. Remember to establish a new friendship on the foundations of open communication and mutual respect to foster a supportive friendship with healthy boundaries.

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Living With Bipolar Disorder

Living With Bipolar Disorder

To manage your bipolar disorder on a daily basis, it is essential that your keep your therapy appointments and take your medications as prescribed. If you experience side effects that you find intolerable, discuss them with your d...

octor. It’s also important to live a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, plenty of sleep and a nutritious diet to avoid other health risks associated with bipolar. Take steps to reduce stress and surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can intervene during manic episodes. When it’s well treated, bipolar disorder should not prevent you from having an enjoyable and successful life.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.