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Why You Need Friends

Posted Apr 05 2011 8:23am


I have a friend, Dan, whom I credit for getting me through PT school (he says the same thing so I guess we managed to keep each other in school).

I don't see Dan often as we live far apart but when I do see him it's as if I saw him just yesterday. We just seem to pick up where we left off.

When I was in PT school, on my last clinical rotation in California, I was having a rough time personally. My marriage, at the time, was falling apart, I got booted from one clinical rotation so I was in danger of not graduating (a bit of a rebel, I guess). Dan flew to California from New York just to ride on the plane home with me. He just showed up in LAX, found me sleeping on some chairs, and said, "Hey Buddy. Let's go home."

THAT'S a friend.

All of the good things we experience from friends come from the "space" between friends. It's that space, the energy, we covet more so than the person. It's in the space where we find connection, inspiration, hope.

Researchers at the University of Virginia asked 34 students to participate in a study. They took them to the base of a steep hill and then asked then to wear a heavy back pack. Standing at the base of the hill, wearing the backpack, the students were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some of the students had a friend stand next to him or her; others didn't. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.1

Friends make the burdens we carry lighter. They lift us up just by being present. Like riding on a plane home from a long and rough clinical rotation.

Each year, we have a special gathering: The Hall of Fame party at Sports Center. This is to celebrate the victories, the return to the "game of life" of so many people and every year it's a very uplifting and humbling experience for me. Just being present; enjoying the "space" between people and just being part of the celebration is very rewarding.

For those Hall of Famers out there, I hope you can join us this April 21st, 2011 from 6PM to 7:30 PM and celebrate. We'll have drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and a surprise gift for each of you. It's always a lot of fun so plan on stopping by Sports Center (1600 W. 38th St. Suite 201).


Some good things happening on the Fusion site over the past couple of weeks:

It's really easy, and free, to sign up to get my articles in your email. Just visit Fusion and enter you email. Simple!


We have currently have openings for a physical therapy technician. This job is a great way to to do something good for people, learn about physical therapy, and work in one of the most unique physical therapy settings anywhere. And I say that because that's what ALL of our other PT Techs have said. So, if you or someone you know wants to be part of the SC Team, email us at



1. Schnall, S., K. D. Harber, et al. (2008). "Social support and the perception of geographical slant." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44(5): 1246-1255.

Photo: Fr. Stephen, MSC

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