Friends

This is the transcript for the Real Exam English podcast episode about friends. The podcast can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or any other good podcast player. It can also be found on https://www.buzzsprout.com/1107956/

Today´s episode is about friends. We all have friends and I think we all like talking about our friends too. So today we have people from the USA, Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England speaking about their buddies, their pals, their mates. We will hear some great vocabulary relating to friendships and we also have some excellent advice about interacting with your speaking partner in a dialogue, as well as a super dialogue about the influence of friends.

Ok, let´s go with the questions.

what do you like to do when you go out with your friends?

You know, going out with friends I Think what I do is often spend time doing the sports that I enjoy with my friends. You know so mountain biking and skiing. Now, sometimes in the summertime here we can.We have friends that have floating boats and we can. They may invite us to go on the local rivers and we can go floating on the River and and that’s always really nice and otherwise we spend time with friends going to their homes for for dinner or having them over. Barbecues and. I’m, you know, occasionally play dates and meeting up at the parks to go, you know, have our children spend time together.

How important do you think it is for parents to like their childrens friends?

I think it’s important that parents like their children’s friends because.Uh, hopefully you know they that the children’s friends have the the good qualities you would hope for them to Have you know as far as the relationship that your children and their friends are going to have is in the the friend is a good person and in a sense that they are kind and caring and considerate and respectful and and not mean or rude or bullies or.Anything like that, so I think it’s it’s, you know, if your your children’s friends have those good qualities and you know that makes them more likable, I suppose.

Some nice friendship language to start off here, we had going to peoples homes or having them over. So to have someone over means to have someone visit or stay with you. Then we heard about play dates which are when young kids meet up, with their parents, to play together or pass the time together. And then we had to meet up which just means to come together with someone, usually planned. For example I met up with Alan for lunch today.

In the second answer we had a slew of adjectives, kind, caring, considerate, respectful, mean and likeable. Remember it´s important to show a range of language in your answers so an answer with a nice variety of adjectives likes this is great.

how important is it to socialize with your friends?

Before Covid, I thought it was a good thing and like I liked socializing with them, but I also like spending time on my own.Now, now that I am stuck away from my friends and it’s just myself and my wife in the house most of the time.I really miss people.Kinda forgetting how to talk to people properly, how to bounce off people and have a full jokey conversation.I think socializing is vitally important with your friends.Yes.

is it better to have a few close friends or a lot of acquaintances?

I have both.There are benefits to both.Personally, I prefer having a few close friends because it’s you know it’s nice. it’s nice to have people that you can be vulnerable with people that you can share things with without.Fear of judgment or anything like that.But having lots of acquaintances is really handy if you need to get things done, pull in favors.You know, basically like having a friendship Yellow Pages, that’s possibly an old metaphor.A friendship Google, so you can just, you know, refer to a set of people.Cool.Who you know do things

A super phrasal verb here which is to bounce off people. This means to interact with people, in a fluid way. You can also use bounce off with ideas,  meaning to present some ideas to someone to see what they think. Like, I bounced the idea of becoming a soldier off of my friends before signing up.

In the second answer we heard the expression to pull in favours, you use this when you ask your friends to help you to do something, usually when they owe you a favour, maybe because you helped THEM out before. Another variation of this is to call in a favour.

what do you like to do when you go out with your friends?

I’m a really big fan of going to escape rooms, doing activities with friends and during the coronavirus pandemic.We’ve tried to do a few things virtually to replicate it.I like going for walks with friends in green areas like parks in the Woods

Do you think we can be friends with people who have very different ideas and opinions from us?

Yes, I think so. I think as long as there´s mutual respect between the two of you I think that´s it´s actually important to have, at least, discussions with people who are different from you, even if they’re not going to be your closest friends.I feel that most of my friends align politically with me, but I have one or two who don’t and I really enjoy debating with them because I know that we love and respect each other. And while there are some issues that we will always disagree on.I can I still feel that they are good people and hopefully they feel the same about me as well.

The first answer starts with I´m a really big fan of escape rooms. This is an excellent way to express something you like, which is something you have to do often in English speaking tests.

The second answer was full of great discourse markers. We had as long as, even if, but, because, while and AND. As mentioned before structuring your answers well is paramount, and using a variety of connectors will get you better marks.

What do you think is the best way to make friends?

I think it’s really tricky out of. School to make friends just randomly.So for me, the way that I make friends is by being involved In my community, because I think what bonds humans is shared work. So while working Within my community for charities and volunteering And doing work together, you end up making friends through that shared experience of that shared work.I think that’s really helpful.

Some people say that we always want to have the same things as our friends.Do you agree?

I think to a certain extent. But I think that it’s because we’re friends with people that are similar to us.Uhm, I don’t, and I mean similar in ideals and wants and desires. We tend to hang out with people that have Similar ethics to us, Similar outlook on life. So quite often. We do see our friends with stuff and want them, Want that too and I think that’s quite normal. For example, I thought I was going to say I quite often do this, but it’s been awhile.But we go camping and so we’ll see friends with different camping equipment and go, oh.Actually, that’s really useful.That would be useful for us.

A classic friendship phrasal verb here, which is to hang out with friends. We also heard the speaker say she agrees to a certain extent, this is another variation of partially agreeing that we looked at in the last episode.

Yeah, I do like meeting new people.Yeah, I’m quite sociable when there when I’m not in the right situation. And I haven’t actually got that many friends.I’ll be honest with you.I’ve got lots of friends on Facebook like friends from school or people I’ve met while I’ve been traveling.But here in Bolton, I don’t think I’ve got like maybe like a handful.The people that I could probably go and see if that.

Lovely northern English accent there. In the last sentence she said she says she has a handful of people she can go to, if that. If that, in this context, means at most. Like I think you will earn 50 euros a week, if that. And the handful that she mentioned is a nicer way of saying a few,  like 4 or 5.

Next up I take part in a dialogue. Many English exams have a dialogue element, and the language you need to use is more or less the same, regardless of whether it is a Cambridge exam, Trinity, Language Cert or whatever. The question being discussed today is are people too easily influenced by their friends and there are 5 options to discuss: being part of a group, listening to family, the type of person you are, the importance of thinking for yourself and wanting to be popular. So this is the format of the Cambridge B2 and C1 exams, you get a general question and usually 5 different points to comment on. You get 2 minutes with your partner to discuss the options and then the examiner will stop you and ask you which one point is the most important, or the least important or which 2 are the best, or worst, it varies from exam to exam, so then you have one minute between you and your partner to decide which one or two is the best or whatever. You don´t have to speak about all 5 options, if you only speak about 3 or 4 of them that’s fine. In fact, Cambridge state that they prefer you speak about a few of them in depth rather than speaking about all 5 superficially. As mentioned previously this is the main part of the exam to show off your interaction skills and if you have some nice vocabulary on the topic too you are on the way to getting a good mark. Remember too that the conversation should be split 50-50 between you and your partner so try not to speak too much or too little. If your partner is very shy or quiet the make sure you try to get them involved by asking them what they think? If they don´t give a decent answer then that isn´t your fault, you will have done your job by showing you can ask someones opinion. Conversely, if your partner is really talkative and is eating up the time without involving you at all then it´s important that you have a nice expression to interrupt them politely, like sorry to interrupt but or if I can just add something here. You shouldn´t have to do this as most students should know they need to interact but occasionally nerves get the better of people and they just won´t stop talking. The last thing to comment on here is that, at least for Cambridge exams, you don’t have to come to an agreement with your partner, you just need to be trying to reach an agreement. What sometimes happens is someone says I think the best option is whatever, and their partner says that they agree and they have only used 15 seconds of the minute they have been given and the examiners just sit there quietly with the clock ticking, tick tick tick. So try to avoid agreeing too soon, have a little debate, even if you really do agree with your partner then suggest one of the other options might be better, just so that you have something to talk about, and to compare.

Ok so today it´s just a regular chat about the different options, have a listen for the interaction here in particular, see what you think.

OK then, so starting with being part of a group, I would say that people clearly are very easily influenced by their friends, particularly at A at a teenage age. Peer pressure is a big factor and you’ll see like large groups of teams or dressing very similarly.And having the same opinions, the same taste in music, that kind of stuff. What do you think?

Yeah, totally.I I agree with what you’re saying. I would say to the question are people too easily influenced by their friends? I I know you’re discussing one part of that that answer, but I would say it’s human nature to be influenced by their friends and it’s more. The majority of people that are influenced by their people around them Who are mostly their Friends, then it’s more.The majority are influenced than the minority.It’s very unusual not to be influenced by other people.

Absolutely. And would you say that the importance of listening to family is even more crucial? Or does it depend on the age of the person perhaps?s

Uhm? I think that throughout life. People in my experience, I think throughout life people are shunning their family at different their their influence of their family at different age groups.Like particularly, you would be thinking teens and early 20s.That’s like an age that you’re just like going to rebel a little bit and not going to be influenced by your family.And perhaps be influenced more by your friends but but then it kind of comes full circle, and I think you.You re enter that engagement period with your family again, you know.

Yeah, I couldn’t, I couldn’t agree with you more.

That’s clearly evident for most people. An I guess personality type comes into it.

Also, you know some people.

Huge.

Yeah.

Yeah, some people are naturally more independent and more headstrong.

Uh huh.

And therefore would be a little less easily influenced.Don’t you think I?

Right?

Heard

yes, definitely.Just thinking from people in my own personal circle.There are some that more easily influenced by friends than others and always were.And some that are more independent based on personality types.Yeah, the better.Just that just.Just don’t have that needs to be.It’s not that they don’t want to be part of the group or want to be popular, but see they don’t see that.Being influenced by their friends will necessarily bring them into the being part of the group or wanting to be popular.

If you know what I mean.Yeah.

Yeah, sure, some people are more inclined to be led by their friends.There, and they’re more confident

Yeah, they’re more confident in their own abilities to be part of the group without being influenced with by reference.

Yeah exactly, they don’t they? They don’t care whether they look the same and act the same as the other people and they they feel fine with that, whereas others clearly want to be popular.

Yeah.

And you know.Take on board everything.They feel that’s the way that that’s going to get them that that bit puffier status, yeah.

Yeah, exactly, and and they perhaps even do it to the detriment of who they really are.You know, they yeah, they act the way people want them to act, rather than the way they should.Uh.They they really are.

Ok, so the first thing to comment on is that the interaction is very natural. This is very important, if you use really great expressions but sound like a robot then that´s not going to impress the examiners. So when you are practicing this part then try to relax and interact in a friendly way with your partner, always being polite. The second thing to point out is the range of expressions used in this dialogue, we had What do you think, yea totally, I agree with what you´re saying, absolutely, I couldn´t agree more, don´t you think, definitely, if you know what I mean, yea sure, exactly. Loads of variety. So make sure you practice plenty of debates to get into the habit of using different expressions for agreeing, disagreeing and asking opinions.

Ok guys, that´s it for today. Hopefully wherever you are you are able to have some friends over or hang out. I think we are all dying to meet up with your buddies to let our hair down and bounce off each other. And remember you are looking for a teacher to practice your speaking with, or your writing, grammar, or whatever, then check out realexamenglish.com, I´ll be more than happy to help!

Ok, have a great week,  all the best,

Trevor

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