The present study compared outpatients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and controls on social problem solving capabilities and specificity of imagining future events. It was hypothesized that patients with BPD would have more deficiencies in both these areas, and that there would be a relation between problem solving and specificity of remembering past and imagining future events. Seventy-eight patients with BPD reported fewer active means to solve interpersonal problems and depressed patients with BPD tended to have more difficulties in imagining positive future events in a specific way compared to controls. Specificity and problem solving were hardly related in patients with BPD. Social problem solving deficits in BPD may be a consequence of disturbed emotion regulation rather than a consequence of restricted memory accessibility. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.