As probably comes to no surprise, I have many friends who also have bipolar. I incidentally gathered them before my own personal diagnosis, but then? One can argue that like attracts like. Plus, people with bipolar tend to be smarter than the average bear, and I crave intelligent people to gabble with.
One thing that might not be apparent to neurotypical folk is that everyone’s bipolar (or other mental illnesses) are fairly unique unto themselves. Yes, we all had to match certain criterion to get our diagnoses, but that doesn’t mean we’re broken in the same way. For example — I knew something I did yesterday would likely trigger one of my friends. I didn’t do it to trigger her, but I accepted that my action very likely would cause a less than positive reaction. And it did — I woke up to an accusatory and angry message. I talked to her and reassured her of my love and my understanding of her particular brand of broken, and I think we’re squared back away now. But I only appreciate her flavour of broken because I’ve known her for over a decade and love her well, and have seen how her particular brand of broken and it’s massive self-sabotage component has hurt her in the past. I do my best to not assume anything about her because of her personal set of mental functions and dysfunctions — I just try to accept they are a part of her and that the best love I can show is accept that it might not make her behave in rational ways. I know my bipolar certainly does some scary-to-folks things!
Really though, I do my best to accept people as they come. I have any number of friends who people would class even harder to love than me (and deity, I know I can be a pain), but they’re worth it. They’re worth the effort to include in my life, warts thorns and all. That isn’t to degenerate on neurotypical folk at all, mind — they make as valuable as friends as anyone else. But they are slightly in less need of affirmation, or able to ask for it more easily, or any number of things that keep ’em on a more positive balance sheet without serious effort. And as I do have to ration my spoons, I admit that I try to spend them where they are appreciated and needed more. My basic rule applies though — if someone makes the effort to come to me, I try to reciprocate and gladly give due attention. ‘Cause that’s manners!