Listening for gist




Ex.1. You will hear three people answering the question What is the ideal number offriends to have? Listen for the first time and try to summarise each person’s views in one sentence.






Ex.2. Read sentences (A-D) below. Are they similar to the ones you wrote?


Listen again and match the sentences to the speakers. There is one extra sentence.

A.  I can divide my friends into several groups depending on how close we are,
B.  People who say they’ve got hundreds of friends don’t understand what friendship is.
C. Really close friends are those you value for their personality,
D. I’ve got a lot of friends, but keeping in touch is a challenge.


Look at the tapescript 1 below. Underline words and phrases which express the same ideas as the sentences in Exercise 2.


Tapescript 1.


PRESENTER: Is it true that the more friends you have, the happier you are? What is the ideal number of friends? We’ve been out and about asking what you think.

1.  I’ve got over
700 Facebook friends and I’ve actually met most of them at least 550; maybe they’re work colleagues or ex-schoolmates or they’re family… The others are just acquaintances or friends of friends. I’m a sociable type, the kind of person who finds it easy to make friends, but
I must admit it is a lot of work keeping up with so many. That’s the beauty of social networking sites like Facebook, though: with one message you can instantly tell all your friends what you’ve been up to.

haven’t got a wide circle of friends. I’d say I’ve got twelve good friends but, to be honest, Ionly really confide in four of them. Let’s face it, it’s natural when you reach a certain age to stop trying so hard to make new friends and start relying on your old ones, the ones you know will always
be there for you, the ones who greet you with open arms at any time of day or
night, no matter what. Your closest friends are those who you love for themselves because of something in their character. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you’re happy just sitting in a room with them. Because, you know, you’re on the same wavelength.

3.  I have
three categories of friends. Firstly the inner circle: my nine closest friends. I try to see them every few weeks and call them up at least once a fortnight. The next group has about twenty pals who I probably see every couple of months, and then there are over 100 people on the outer circle. And there are two people who, to be perfectly frank, I don’t really want to stay friends with but I just don’t have the heart to dump them. It’s not like we fell out or anything, it’s just that we don’t really have anything in common any more.




You’re going to hear four people talking about the optimal number of friends to have.


Task 1.  Match speakers 1-4 to statements A-E. There is one extra statement that you do not need to use.

1 – ___; 2-____; 3-____; 4-____.

A. I don’t have much confidence in people,
B. I enjoy having a large number of friends,
I’m quite sociable, but Idon’t confide in many people,
D. Remembering all my friends’ birthdays is too much trouble.
E. True friends are rare



Task 2. Which of the speakers do you agree / disagree with? Give reasons.


Task 3. Prepare a one-minute talk presenting your views on friendship. Use at least six of the phrases from the box. Deliver your talks in pairs and discuss your views.

a sociable type          keep up with               keep in touch
a handful of true friends            to stand by someone
confide in sb                  rely on sb                a wide circle of friends
be on the same wavelength             the inner circle
the outer circle              to dump someone


Tapescript 2.


PRESENTER: Is it true that the more friends you have, the happier you are? What is the ideal number of friends? We’ve been out and about asking what you think.

1. I read an article in the paper about this fashion designer who threw a party for 800 friends. I think that’s ridiculous. I don’t believe anyone can have more than a handful of true friends – I certainly don’t have more than three or four. If you say you have hundreds, I don’t think you know what friendship really is. It isn’t the quantity of your friendships that counts, it’s the quality. Good friends are hard to come by. They say that a friend in need is a friend indeed, and I couldn’t agree more. A real friend is someone who stands by you when times are hard. Someone once said a friend was someone you’d eaten salt with, and I know just what that means.

2. It all depends what you mean by ‘friend’. I mean if you’re talking about really really close friends, then the ideal number, well at least a realistic number is no more than half a dozen. But I’m quite an open outgoing sort of person and so I’ve got dozens of people I consider to be friends who I see quite a lot. I suppose the difference is that I wouldn’t tell those friends my deepest thoughts and feelings and worries. They’re just people I like that I can have a good time with.

3. The ideal number of friends? Two, a dog and a computer.I don’t really like people very much. I think they’re overrated. Making friends is more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve never had a friend as loyal as my dog. I’m talking about total trust here, right? I know a lot of people but I wouldn’t trust any of them as far as I can spit.

4. How many friends? The more, the better. I’m a very conscientious sort of person, so I try to keep in touch with all my friends. I reckon I’ve got two or three hundred names in the address book in my phone, and in the calendar I’ve got the birthdays of more than one hundred friends and every year I send every single one of them a card and give them a call on their birthdays. I’ve got friends I’ve known since kindergarten, friends in more than twenty countries. I couldn’t live without my friends.

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