Making new friends: a conversation lesson

Hi, everyone

For the first time in more than a year I finally have the chance to write for the blog. The feeling is bittersweet, though, as I have just heard Claudio Azevedo, author of Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals and one of my inspirations when I started blogging, has passed away. Sad day for ELT ☹

This is a lesson I taught to a group of B2/C1 adult students, but you may be able to adapt it to both lower levels (by pre-teaching language from the text) or younger students (by changing the focus of the conversation questions)


image created by Javi_indy –


The steps below are based on a presentation a PowerPoint you can download here on Dropbox or here on Google drive.


[Slide 1]

Show students the pictures and elicit what they have in common (the idea of friendship). Show the question and ask students to discuss it in pairs. After a few minutes elicit ideas and ask students to justify them. Board their ideas to be used later.


[Slide 2]

Tell students they are going to read an article from the Guardian about making new friends. If you are using this text with lower levels, you may want to pre-teach the words ‘tricky’ and ‘keen’, as they both appear twice in the text.

Ask students to read only the first paragraph of the text and see if any of their ideas from the previosu activity are mentioned here. Let students compare answers before checking with the whole group.

After that, show students slide 2 with detailed questions. Give them more time to read the text and let them compare answers again before checking with the whole group. You can expand on this a little bit by asking students if they agree with what is said on the text (or if you think the same is true in their country/culture)

You can find the original article here (it’s pretty long, but worth reading if you have the time) and my adapted version below.

Making New Friends (The Guardian)


[Slide 3]

Put students in trios or small groups. Show them follow-up questions and give students time to discuss them. After a few minutes turn this into a whole group discussion. If students get into it, you can vote on the best piece of advice to make new friends.

Alternatively you can also turn this into a writing activity for homework, where students write a letter/email to a friend who has moved to a new city giving advice on how to make new friends.


[Slide 4]

Tell students they are going to watch a video about friendship.

Show the image and questions and ask students to guess the answers before watching. Board their suggestions so you can check later.

You can find the video below or click on the image in the PowerPoint to open it on YouTube.

Let students compare answers and then check with the whole group.


[Slide 5]

As a follow-up, show students the questions on slide 5. Clarify that by oldest friend you mean the one they have known the longest, not the oldest in age.

If you want to extend this activity, try using a pyramid discussion. Students start answering questions in pairs and then move to groups of four. You could ask them to try to find if there is any commonality to the secret of their friendships.


[Slide 6]

Go back to the text and go over the pronunciation of the words in bold – You may want to focus on the catenation in ‘strike up’ and ‘leap of’. I think it’s also worth mentioning that ‘keen’ can be followed by ‘on + gerund’ or ‘to + infinitive’.

Get students to guess the meanings based on the context or give them definitions to match. After a few minutes, elicit their ideas and ask CCQs to double-check if students know what expressions mean.


[Slide 7]

In pairs, students answer conversation questions. Feel free to change the questions so that they are more suitable for your students.

Additionally you could ask students to create their own questions using these expressions.


Thanks for reading.

21 thoughts on “Making new friends: a conversation lesson

  1. Hi Ricardo, I am glad you are back. If you don’t mind I would like to suggest a topic for a class, football, or even the 2018 World Cup. I have been trying to put together a lesson on that but I have not been able to find a interesting video on those subjects.

    Thanks and welcome back!


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