By Juliette Virzi
If you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), you may have come across the term “favorite person,” or “FP” for short. Though the concept of having a favorite person is one familiar to a lot of people in the BPD community, others might hear the term and think, “Oh, it’s like a best friend.”
While a best friend can be an FP, it’s usually so much more than that — and it’s important to know the differences. To oversimplify, best friends are people you love and count on, but a favorite person is someone you have an emotional dependence on, someone who can “make or break” your day.
We wanted to know what having a favorite person means to someone with borderline personality disorder, so we asked our BPD community to share how they define this term.
In addition to the insight from our community, The Mighty spoke with psychologist Dr. April Foreman, who specializes in working with people with BPD, and asked her to share her tips for navigating a relationship with a favorite person (which you can read below our community responses).
Here’s how members of our BPD community define a favorite person:
1. “Having a favorite person for me is the constant shifting between idealization and devaluation. When anything changes (the tone of their voice, body language, etc.), the shifting only goes between the two extremes. It’s like I’m the happiest when they tell me they love me and they are there, but I have self-harming and suicidal thoughts when anything changes.” — Salma H.
2. “It’s like being in love without the romantic wishes. Platonic love. You might not even know the person very well, but you still idolize them so much. You create your own image of who they are, so for you, they become exactly who you need.” — Lena M.
3. “It’s dangerous. It’s needing someone so bad it’s physically painful when they leave. It’s apologizing for every tiny thing because you don’t want to give them a reason to leave you. It’s picking fights just to make sure they’ll stay. It’s awful.” — Hannah D.
4. “[They’re] like my drug. Whenever I get their attention, I’m happy for a while. But when I don’t, it’s like the world’s falling apart and I don’t know what to do.” — Jordie W.
5. “[A] favorite person is the calm port in the storm, the low energy vibration person that can level you out just by existing. [A] favorite person can also be the one who we hold up high and try to emulate. The favorite person is the one who makes us feel happy. Also can be the one who we lash out at and feel the worst about it because we don’t want them to leave.” — Jennifer R.