Lesson 1: Friendship and other positive relationships

Ex.1. Look at the pictures. What is the relationship between these people? Choose the phrase you think best describes the photo.


a faithful companion     blood relatives     

a passing acquaintance      mutual respect

a strong bond     true friends      an odd couple




Ex.2.  Look at these English sayings about relationships. What do they mean? Do you have a similar saying in your language?

1 Blood is thicker than water

2 A friend in need is a friend indeed

3 Like father, like son

4 No man is an island

Ex.3. In your opinion, what makes a close friendship? Put the following in order of importance.

–       Helping in times of crisis

–       Knowing someone a long time

–       Seeing someone regularly

–       Sharing secrets

–       Buying each other presents

–       Enjoying the same hobbies




Now you are going to read the article about friendship. For questions 1-7, find the answer which you think fits best according to the text.


Do you think men and women want different things from friendship?

Read the following T/F statements, then listen to the text and answer them.

  1. Nigel and the writer met when they were 17.
  2. Nigel and the writer had an argument.
  3. Men are often too busy to see friends.
  4. Women talk more to their friends.
  5. Woman break up their husband’s’ friendships.
  6. It’s hard to work with friends.




Nigel was one of my best friends. In the seventeen years we’ve known each other, we’ve done the sort of things that mates do. We have gone out for drinks together, played in a number of sad rock bands together. We have got a history, as they say.


When a personal disaster of catastrophic proportions left me out on the streets with a couple of cardboard boxes and a rucksack, it was Nigel who supplied a sofa and a well-stocked fridge. And when I got married, it was Nigel’s plum-colored Rover P5 Coupé that was waiting, engine purring, outside the registry office.


However, it came as something of a shock when I realized that I had not actually seen Nigel for nearly six months. What had gone wrong? It is not as if we had fallen out. We still worked and lived in the same town. We had simply fallen victim to something that afflicts millions of men in their late twenties and thirties. They start misplacing their friends.


Once you and your mates were inseparable. Now there never seems to be enough time to cram everything in. There is work, a home, kids even. In reality, it is getting to the point where it is not so much a question of meeting up, more a question of having a reunion. It has been so long since you got together it is actually becoming embarrassing.


The irony is that you will continue to insist that these men, whom you hardly ever see, are your closest friends in the world, even though in every meaningful sense they now barely qualify as acquaintances. You probably have a closer relationship with the man who collects your ticket at the railway station.


Men seem to need a practical reason to spend time together. Psychologist Dr Malcolm George says, “As men, we very much form our friendships around doing something mutually. But the problem is that the maintenance is dependent on doing the thing. When the demands of career and family kick in, those relationships get squeezed out.”


Dr George believes that there is an essential difference in the nature of male and female friendship. Men have a more limited expectation of their friendships, partly because the man-woman relationship is still looked upon as the vehicle for emotional fulfillment. Men’s relationships with other men are regarded as having no real emotional content. They serve a function – playing in the football team or whatever. Women actually expect to share their emotional life with their friends – that is the difference.


It seems as though your partner may determine the friends you keep. This may be because people tend to make new acquaintances at work and it´s very hard to convert those work friends into family friends. When men launch into a relationship and lose contact with their friends, they make bigger demands on their partner by expecting her to supply all the friendship that´s missing.


Most women want men to keep their friends – as long as they can express themselves within these friendships and talk problems over. After all, men’s inability to express their feelings is one of the things that makes relationships flounder.


  1. When disaster struck, Nigel ……………………………………..
  2. Why did the author stop seeing Nigel?. ……………………………………..
  3. Millions of men in their thirties ……………………………………..
  4. What does “they” in the fifth paragraph refer to?
  5. Men form friendships that ……………………………………..
  6. Men don’t expect a lot from their male friendships because ……………………………………..
  7. A minority of women want ……………………………………..


Friendships and other positive relationships


An idiom is a set expression which has a meaning different from the literal meanings of its components. Idioms present a great variety of structures and combinations that are mostly unchangeable and often not logical and may not follow basic rules of grammar.


Jo and I get on well with each other.   [have a good relationship]

Adrian and Liz don’t see eye to eye.   (often argue/disagree]

I’ve fallen out with my parents again.   [had arguments]

Tony and Jane have broken up / split up.   [ended their relationship]

George is having an affair with his boss.   [a sexual relationship, usually secret]

Children should respect their elders.   [adults/parents, etc.]

Let’s try and make it up.   (be friends again after a row]


Positive relationships


She’s my junior / I’m her senior / I’m senior to her, so she does what she’s told, [refers to the position/length of service at work]


Aliona and I hit it off immediately. [liked each other the moment we met]. We’re true soulmates. [people who feel close to each other in spirit and who understand each other deeply]


Nelly was my mother’s lifelong companion, [friend who was with her all her life]. The moment I met Rob I could see he was a man after my own heart. [someone you admire because they do or think the same as you; can also be woman after one’sown heart]


Charlie and I get on like a house on fire. [have a very good, enjoyable relationship]

Jim and Tony have been bosom friends/buddies/pals for years. [very close, good friends)

Patricia and Carmen are inseparable. [always want to be together, very close]

There’s always been a close bond between Kirsten and her aunt. [relationship or feeling of togetherness]


I think we should all be more careful in the use of the word ‘friend’. It does not, and should not, be applied to a casual acquaintance. There are colleagues, allies and partners – all of them pretending to be friends because it suits their purpose. True friends want nothing from you and don’t expect any special favours. We should ask nothing from them except loyalty, despite our faults. They should speak well behind our backs. Such friends are hard to find …


Other key words:

Russia and America were allies [countries which fight on the same side] in the Second World War.

We were business partners (people who own the same business] but now we’re bitter rivals [people in competition with each other in an aggressive and negative way].


Examples of problematic friendships

  • Terry has been disloyal to me on a number of occasions.
  • Jo’s always very critical of her friends. I don’t like that.
  • OK, I was dishonest with I’m sorry, but I didn’t want to hurt you.
  • Jim has always been scrupulously honest in his dealings with us.
  • I would never expect complete and unswerving loyalty from a friend.
  • Monica has always been my staunchest ally at I can always rely on her to support me. I was amazed that someone who called herself a friend could be so deeply critical.


2. Types of relationships


Mate is a colloquial word for a good friend. It can also be used in compounds to describe a person you share something with, e.g. classmate, shipmate, workmate, flatmate.

Workmate is usual in non-professional contexts; colleague is more common among professional people.

Fiancée/fiancé can still be used for someone you are engaged to, but a lot of people feel it is dated nowadays. You will sometimes see husband-/wife-to-be in journalistic style.

English has no universally accepted word for ‘person I live with but am not married to’, but partner is probably the commonest.


Here is a scale showing closeness and distance in relationships in different contexts.

friendship: best friend good friend friend acquaintance
work: close colleague colleague workmate
love/romance: lover steady boy/girlfriend ex-*
marriage: wife/husband partner ex-*

* ex– can be used with or without (informally) another word: She’s my ex. (girlfriend, etc.)


Liking and not liking someone

core verb positive


Like love                        adore dislike                    hate
worship                 idolise can’t stand            loathe
respect look up to              admire look down on       despise
attract turn s.b. on repel      turn s.b. off
be attracted to fancy


She doesn’t just like Bob she idolises him! I can’t stand him. I really fancy Lisa, but her friend just turns me off.

Fancy and turn off are informal. Repel is very strong and rather formal.


Ex.1. Complete the sentences on the left with an appropriate word or expression on the right. 

1.   Laurence and I get on really well and do absolutely everything together. He is … … my ex-girlfriend.
2.   I know Bob, but not very well. He is…  … my fiancée.
3.   Jenny and I work together in the same office. She is … … my workmate.
4.   Jane and I announced our engagement last week and plan to get married in the summer. She is … … my flatmate.
5.   Clare and I used to go out together. She is … … just good friends.
6.   Susie and I have been going out together now for a few months. She is … my best friend.
7.   Jordi attends the same English lessons as me. He is …  .. my steady girlfriend
8.   Sarah works alongside me on the production line in a factory. She is . .. a good friend.
9.   John and I share an apartment in the city. He is …  .. my classmate.
10. I often go out with Ben to the cinema or the pub. He is … .. an acquaintance.
11. Andy and I are going out together, but we haven’t told anybody yet. In fact, if anyone asks, we say that we are … .. my colleague.


Ex.2. The person who typed this book has got some of the phrases and idioms opposite mixed up with one another. Correct them.

  1. Jo and Phil don’t get on eye to eye with each other.
  2. I fell up with my parents last night. It wasn’t my fault.
  3. We had a quarrel but now we’ve made it well.
  4. Do you think Jim and Nora are making an affair? I do.
  5. I see very well with all my colleagues at work.
  6. She should learn to respect her olders.
  7. Jo’s attractive, but her mate just turns me up completely.


Ex.3. Fill the gaps with suitable adjectives or adverbs.

  1. You need………………………allies at work who won’t let you down.
  2. His………………………honesty is a quality I greatly admire.
  3. I don’t know why she was so………………………critical of him; it seemed very unfair.
  4. Her ……………………and ………………….loyalty to him was a mistake. He betrayed her in the end.
  5. Ray and Hilary were ………………… rivals at work, but seemed to get on well outside of the office.
  6. When all my other so-called friends drifted away, Jack always remained a …………. friend to me.


Ex.4. Rewrite these sentences to give the opposite meaning.

  1. Rick and his sister shared the same opinion on a lot of things.
  2. Her affection for Andrew has grown stronger lately. I expect they’ll get engaged.
  3. Our relationship stayed firm because we always understood each other.


Ex.5. Match these words with the definitions below:

Friend, colleague, partner, ally, companion, comrade, acquaintance, lover, enemy, accomplice.


Someone who:

…………………… is associated with you in business or plays sport with you.

…………………… Helps you in war or confrontation.

…………………… You know only superficially.

…………………… You disagree with violently or dislike.

…………………… Keeps you company.

…………………… You have a sexual relationship with.

…………………… Is a member of the same political or military group as you.

…………………… You like a lot and have things in common with.

…………………… Works in the same place as you.

…………………… Helps you in illegal or criminal activities.


Ex. 6. Give the opposites of these adjectives. Use a dictionary if necessary.

  1. loyal 2. truthful 3. honest   4. welcoming   5. contented 6. warm-hearted


Ex.7. Some words in these sentences have been used incorrectly. Rewrite the sentences using the correct word from the lesson.

1 We both own the company: we’re bitter rivals.

2 I’ve made several casual colleagues since moving to London, but no close friends yet.

3 Were Britain and the USA colleagues in the First World War too?

4 The two companies hate each other: they’re acquaintances.


Ex.8. Fill the gaps with a suitable preposition.

1 I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve never been dishonest……………..you.

2 She’s very critical……………..her colleagues.

3 Why are you always so disloyal……………..me?





Listen to the speakers talking about important people in their lives and do the exercises to practise and improve your listening skills.


  1. Do this exercise before you listen. Match the phrases with the correct definition and write a – f next to the numbers 1 – 6.
1…….. She looked after me. a. We have a good, friendly relationship.
2…….. We hang out a lot. b. She took care of me.
3…….. We get on well. c. He likes the same things as me.
4…….. We fell out. d. We have many similarities.
5…….. We have a lot in common. e. We stopped being friends. (Especially after an argument.)
6…….. He’s into the same things. f. We spend a lot of time together.


  1. Complete the gaps with a word from the box.
brother childhood friend boyfriend
best friend next-door neighbour  


  1. Speaker A is talking about her _______________ .
  2. Speaker B is talking about his _______________ .
  3. Speaker C is talking about her _______________ .
  4. Speaker D is talking about his _______________ .
  5. Speaker E is talking about her _______________ .


  1. Check your understanding: circle True or False for these sentences.
1. A – Her next-door neighbour also worked with her mum. True False
2. A – Her next-door neighbour has a healthier lifestyle now. True False
3. B – He didn’t see his brother after he went to university. True False
4. B – He supports the same football team as his brother. True False
5. C – She and her friend argued about a boy. True False
6. C – She is going to go to the same university as her friend. True False
7. D – He didn’t have much in common with his friend when they were young. True False
8. E – She didn’t like the look of her boyfriend at first. True False


  • Which people have been important in your life?
  • Who are you closest to in your family?
  • Who are your closest friends?
  • Which other people have been important in your life?


Ex.9. Choose the correct word

  1. Mike has known most of his colleagues / mates since primary school.
  2. On behalf of the management of the company, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new colleagues / buddies.
  3. I don’t know Tom that well, he’s just a(n) acquaintance / companion .
  4. Martin is a friend of the family / house.
  5. Chris is an excellent travelling mate / companion . You can rely on him in any situation.
  6. 6 Amy and Katie are close / near friends.
  7. 7 I know her slightly – she’s a(n)friend / acquaintance of a friend.
  8. 8 Eva has a wide circle / ring of friends


Ex.10. Word formation. Change the words from the right column so that they best fit the gaps.




Do men or women form closer friendships with others of their gender?
Though sharing defines close __________, there’s a noted gender friend
divide in the way people express __________ . In other words, intimate
men __________ their friendships by doing something together, conductor
be it drinking, backpacking, or rebuilding their car engines, and when they talk to each other, they prefer topics like cars or sports rather than themselves. Women conduct friendships by sharing information about themselves, their emotions, and their __________. Women __________ “face-to-face” relative (2)
and men __________“side-to-side”. communicator
Though men’s friendships seem to be less __________ , men emotion
can be very good friends, they can be reliable and __________ to support
each other when it is really needed. These differences are just as true today. My ex-husband could be the poster child for the prototypical male friend. He’s __________ good friendships with guys he met in the ninth grade and maintenance
can talk endlessly on the phone with them about whatever. Computer

game is their current __________ . They can spend hours without once

mentioning their__________ lives, careers, health, or state of mind. person


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