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December 21, 2016

Community Correspondent: Social Science talk about friendship and loneliness

I arrived at the Library to attend a talk about Friendship and Loneliness and why we need friends. Appropriately, I was met by some very smiley people with offers of tea and biscuits, I took my seat and glanced around the room. We were an eclectic mix; Some suited and booted, others more casual, a mixture of ages, genders and ethnicities. All told, an excellent mix.

What then took place was completely different to what I had expected. Rather than a ‘talk’ delivered to us with perhaps questions and contributions from the floor, what was required of us was that we ‘talk’ to each other about the nature of friendship, what it means to us, what defines friendship? How about loneliness.

The event was organised and facilitated by Amanda Fulford from Leeds Trinity University and the rationale behind the afternoon was to encourage philosophical discussion of everyday concepts in everyday life, we were aided and abetted in our efforts with quotes and sources from acknowledged thinkers and writers, Hannah Arendt and Socrates to mention but two!

It was not even slightly stuffy or exclusive, the discussion was lively, friendly and included everybody. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet people I might never otherwise meet and engage in a conversation about the stuff of life. I don’t know if we found any definitive answers and this particular historical materialist did get a tad riled when a participant said we could try and ‘embrace the pain of loneliness.’

By Sara Allkins

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