Lecture shows friendship is a lifelong advantage

March 8, 2012 5:05 am

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and Rhoda and Lou and Murray of television's iconic sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-1977) had great friendships that lasted through thick, thin -- and time.

To understand the benefits of and need for such friendships -- especially as we age -- "Getting by with a Little Help from My Friends," a free lecture that is part of Saint Vincent College's series on aging and spirituality, will be presented March 19 at the Unity campus.

Richard Schulte, a retired Saint Vincent English professor who will lead the discussion, said he will focus on the writings of classical philosophers, the Bible and on his own 30 years of professional experience working in personnel development at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin.

"Great friendships should be a goal," he said. "But sometimes people don't cultivate lesser friendships so they eliminate some of the possibilities," Mr. Schulte said. "So when your friends die or move away you're bereft."

Mr. Schulte explained there are three levels of friendship; casual friendships, friendships like those developed at work or church and very deep friendships of which one develops one or two in a lifetime. He encourages adults to experience friendships at all levels.

"There are a variety of studies that say when we experience a friendly exchange, it causes your brain chemistry to change -- it's very similar to the chemistry of pleasure," Mr. Schulte said.

He gives a personal example of how a lunch hour walk with a colleague combined exercise with conversation and made for positive, productive energy for both parties.

Mr. Schulte's talk will also focus on the spiritual tradition that says the church and Jesus Christ become part of a friendship so that even in death, the friendship continues through prayer. This, he explained, is in John's gospel when Christ tells his disciples that he is going to treat them as friends.

Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.
First Published 2012-03-08 04:07:30

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