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Why I Was Scared When I Found a New 'Favorite Person'

After my previous favorite person (FP) left me, I was determined I would never have another one again. How could I? I got too obsessed, things got too intense and it hurt like hell when she left. I was sure I could never have another friend I was that close to. I have other friends, many of them close, but things were healthier. I didn’t rely on them the way I did with my FP, and that was a good thing. I was happy not to have that intense bond with anyone else. I thought I had learned something and that I could never get that close to anyone again. Yet here I am telling you I’ve found a new FP…

When I met Rachel (not her real name), I was her mentor at work. She had started working with me in January. At first, I noticed nothing remarkable about her. We didn’t have much to say to each other. There was nothing to suggest to me that she might become a new FP. I had seen on her Facebook profile that she was interested in men and women (I’m gay) but we didn’t really have occasion to talk about that and I kind of forgot about it. But then another friend set up a writing group at work. We’re both writers and so we started to go to that together every week. After a couple of weeks, I wrote a story about a girl who fancied another girl and Rachel and I ended up in a discussion about women we were attracted to. It was then I realized that 1) we had the same taste in women and 2) she was a good listener and easy to talk to.

Soon after, I realized I was having the same feelings about her that I had about my last FP. I’d been close to other people in the meantime, but I never felt any of them could become my FP. I honestly thought it wouldn’t happen again. And that it couldn’t happen again.

It scared me when I realized it was happening again. I started to think I should stop being friends with her entirely. Because what if the same thing happened and she left me too? What if I got too obsessed and drove her away? What if I destroyed her like I feel I did with my last one?

In hindsight, it was optimistic to think I would never get this with anyone else. I am in therapy, but I still have borderline personality disorder (BPD). People with BPD can be prone to these sort of friendships. It’s part of my BPD. We have relationship difficulties. That’s what BPD is about. Often we either avoid relationships entirely or we get too needy. We often don’t have enough self-worth and so we measure our worth with our relationships. If people like us, we are worth something. If relationships break down, it proves what we have known all along — that we are worthless and that no one likes us and everyone will abandon us. So we cling to people, terrified of them leaving. We get dependent on them. We expect too much.

But there are positives to this kind of friendship. I didn’t want to have to back away just because of my borderline personality disorder. I just have to try and learn lessons from how the last one played out. Make this one a positive thing rather than a negative thing. I don’t think I can help the fact I am prone to having FPs. But what I can help is the way I act with this FP.

It’s already been hard. I spent several days thinking she was getting sick of me as she didn’t reply to me as quickly as usual. She was busy at work, but I interpreted it as my fault. She was drifting away. I had lost her already. I got angry at myself and very negative. I did bad things. I scared myself with the fact that it was obvious I was getting dependent. She could tell there was something up, and she asked if I was OK. As soon as we talked about it and she reassured me she wasn’t mad at me and didn’t want to stop being my friend, I felt on top of the world. And that scared me too. The fact that as soon as she was particularly nice to me, I was suddenly fine. It was a bad sign.

But I have to learn from my mistakes. The alternative would be to say, “Sorry, I can’t do this.” And then I would be losing the positive things about the friendship. It’s nice to have a close friend who I can talk to about almost anything and who I can share good things with.

Rachel read my article about what happened with my last FP and is as determined as I am to make sure that doesn’t happen with us. She told me I could never drive her away, but I know no one can promise that. We just both have to do our best to prevent it.

So, what have I learned? Firstly, there has to be more to our friendship than my illnesses. I’m trying hard to make sure she knows more about me than just that, as there is a lot more to me. Secondly, we need to have an equal friendship. I want to know things about her, it can’t all be about me as it was last time. Thirdly, it’s OK to have time apart. I’ve just been on holiday for five days and didn’t text her once. Because I needed to prove to myself I could do that. It’s also OK for her to have days when she doesn’t text me. It doesn’t mean she’s sick of me. It’s hard to remember that in the heat of the moment when my emotions are going haywire, but I need to try. And the most important one — only I can fix myself. No one else can do that for me. I always used to think my FP was going to magically rescue me and solve all my problems.

Rachel will be reading this, so maybe she would like to know how she can help me with this. I would say, let me know if I seem to be getting too obsessive or dependent or am talking about nothing but my illnesses. Make sure we have days when we don’t text or email each other. Talk about yourself and don’t let me always dominate conversations. Understand that I will panic at times and think you’re going to leave me. I am trying to be better, but my BPD symptoms are not going to disappear overnight. Paranoia is part of my BPD.

It means a lot to me that Rachel wants to be friends with me and is willing to work with me to make sure the friendship works. I think it’s OK to have a favorite person as long as it doesn’t become unhealthy, like it did with my last one.

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