IELTS Cue Card: Describe an occasion when you met someone for the first time

IELTS Cue Card: Describe an occasion when you met someone for the first time


Describe an occasion when you met someone for the first time.
You should say:
  • Where you met them
  • When you met them
  • What you talked about
And explain how you felt about it.

Part 3:
  • Do you think it’s strange to meet friends online?
  • Why do some people have few friends?
  • Why is more important: new friends or old ones?
  • How do companies welcome their new employees?

Part 2 — Sample Answer:

Like most people, I’ve met quite a number of new people over the years. However, I used to work in the tourism industry, and so meeting new people on a daily basis wasn’t anything unusual.

I used to work as a receptionist in a backpacker hostel. Checking in guests and being social was literally part of my job description. Most of the people I met were pleasant, but forgettable, but quite a number were memorable and a handful became good friends.

One in particular sticks out in my mind. He was from Australia and was quite a character.

It happened that we’d made a mistake with his booking and I was tasked with sorting it out. Mistakes happen, and perhaps once a month there would be a problem with a booking and it was usually because we were overbooked.

Most guests weren’t fussed if we had to downgrade them to a cheaper room, and to say sorry we’d offer them some free perks.

This Aussie guest was a little bit different. He started negotiating and trying to get a lot more freebies. He was extremely polite and our email exchanges were very friendly. This guest intrigued me and I was eager to meet him in real life.

I made a mental note as to when he was due to check in, and was looking forward to saying hello.

When he arrived and said his name, I laughed and explained who I was, and that it was me he’d been corresponding with. He shook my hand and apologized for negotiating so hard, but said he worked in sales and so negotiating was a habit for him.

I wasn’t working that evening and we decided to go grab a beer and hang out for a while. We really clicked and for the time he was still living in London we became really good friends.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Over the years (idiom)
This phrase is used to describe a period of some, several, or many years.
Example: This town has changed a lot over the years; I hardly recognize it.

Forgettable (adjective)
Something that’s likely to be forgotten really quickly because it’s not very interesting or special.
Example: A lot of TV sitcoms are very forgettable because they’re so cliché.

Memorable (adjective)
If something is memorable, it’s very likely to be remembered because it’s special in some way.
Example: That vacation we took to China was extremely memorable.

Handful (noun)
A handful is a small number of people or things.
Example: She invited all her friends to the party, but only a handful of them turned up.

In particular (idiom)
It’s a synonym of especially.
Example: I liked that last candidate in particular.

Sticks out (phrasal verb)
Something that’s very noticeable because it’s different is said to stick out.
Example: If you dye your hair purple and blue, you’ll really stick out at work.

Quite a character (idiom)
If someone is quite a character, they have a lot of personality or individuality, and this can be unusual or surprising. They’re not typical and can be quite unusual, and possibly very unique. It can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Example: I found James to be quite a character. I’ve never met anyone like him before.

Tasked (verb)
If you’re tasked with something, you’re given a task or a specific job to do.
Example: We’ve been tasked with selling 300 cookies a day to people commuting to work.

Sort it out (phrasal verb)
If you sort out something, it means to deal with something. In this case, it’s to fix a problem.
Example: It took me a long time to sort it out, but eventually we did it.

Overbooked (adjective)
If a hotel, airline, bus company, etc, has sold more tickets than there are rooms or seats, they’re said to be overbooked.
Example: Many flights are often overbooked because sometimes passengers don’t arrive for their flight on time.

Fussed (verb)
If you’re fussed over something, you’re worried or troubled over insignificant or minor things.
Example: I’m not fussed where we eat.

Downgrade (verb)
To give someone a worse quality or level on a plane, or at a hotel. For example, you may be given a worse seat on a plane than you paid for, or a worse room in a hotel than you booked.
Example: It was a horrible vacation. There was a water leak in the fancy hotel room we were supposed to be staying in, and the only other rooms available were small and had a terrible view.

Perks (noun)
Any kind of extra payment, benefits, or advantage from a situation.
Example: The hotel gave us some extra perks, like free massages and a better room for being loyal customers.

Aussie (noun)
Someone who comes from Australia.
Example: There are lots of Aussies in London in the winter.

Freebies (noun)
Anything that’s given to you without you having to pay for it. It’s usually something that you’d have to pay for under normal circumstances.
Example: They were giving out freebies of a new diet drink at the mall.

Hang out (phrasal verb)
If you spend a lot of time somewhere you are said to hang out there. You can also hang out with people too.
Example: I’ve been hanging out all day at the beach.

Click (verb)
If you click with someone, you become friends with someone very quickly because you immediately because you like and understand each other.
Example: Mary and Bob didn’t click at all and hated each other from the start.

Part 3 — Sample Answers:

Do you think it’s strange to meet people online?

Absolutely not. I think a lot of people make new friends online, and many people have met their boyfriend or girlfriend on the internet.

Apps to help people meet new people are extremely common and widely used. I think there used to be a little bit of a stigma surrounding these apps, but that has disappeared over the years.

There also used to be a lot of fear about meeting strangers from the internet. There were a few cautionary tales that would be published in the media from time to time, but most people realized it was just scaremongering and there was nothing to worry about.

Personally I’ve met a lot of really cool people because of the internet. I’ve moved a number of times and I’d have found it really difficult to make new friends otherwise.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Stigma (noun)
If people think a behavior, situation, or sickness is something to be ashamed of, or that society disapproves of, especially when this is unfair, it’s said to be stigmatized. Often people can feel embarrassed if society has stigmatized them.
Example: In some parts of the world, mental illness still has a stigma but this is becoming less common.

Cautionary tale (noun)
A cautionary tale is a story that gives some kind of warning for the future.
Example: Many journalists have written cautionary tales of smokers that died of smoking-related diseases.

From time to time (idiom)
If something happens from time to time, it happens sometimes but not very often.
Example: I still think of him from time to time.

Scaremongering (noun)
The process of telling stories or doing something to make people feel worried or frightened. Often the stories aren’t completely true, or the stories are spread so that someone can profit from people’s fear.
Example: There’s been a lot of scaremongering in the media about the economy.

Why do some people have few friends?

Maybe they’re really shy and struggle to talk to new people. Many people would consider themselves to be introverts and find it difficult to make new friends. Maybe they feel intimidated at parties where they don’t know many people, and might slink away at the first opportunity.

Other people possibly prefer quality over quantity. They’d rather have a few really close friends instead of a large number of casual acquaintances that they don’t know really well. They’ve probably known their close friends for forever and a day, and possibly even grew up with them. They’ll have gone through thick and thin with them, and they would feel like family.

There will also be a subset of the population that have just moved somewhere new. Maybe they’ve moved to a new city or even a new country, and they haven’t really met many people yet. Perhaps they’ve befriended a neighbor or a work colleague, but haven’t really had a chance to make many new friends.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Introvert (noun)
An introvert is a person who generally prefers being by themself and likes to do activities alone. They may avoid large groups of people. The opposite of an introvert is an extravert.
Example: Mary is introverted and would rather play Monopoly than go to a party.

Intimidated (adjective)
If you feel intimidated, you feel frightened or nervous because you’re not confident in a situation.
Example: Older people tend to feel intimidated by computers.

Slink away (idiom)
If you slink away, you leave somewhere in a quiet and sometimes sneaky way so that people won’t notice you leaving.
Example: I was so bored at the party, the only thing I could do was to slink away at the first opportunity.

Quality over quantity (phrase)
This phrase means it’s more important to get something that’s a better quality than it is to get lots of things that aren’t such good quality.
Example: I always prefer quality over quantity when it comes to wine. I’d rather have one really good bottle of wine instead of several lower quality bottles.

Casual acquaintance (noun)
Someone you have met. You know each other, but you don’t know each other very well and you don’t see each other often.
Example: She’s just a casual acquaintance of my family in Boston.

For forever and a day (idiom)
If something lasts for forever and a day, it can mean a very long time, but not actually for forever.
Example: We’ve been driving for forever and a day and we’re still not there yet.

Grew up (phrasal verb)
To change from being a baby or young child to being an older child or adult.
Example: She’s really starting to grow up now.

Through thick and thin (idiom)
To stay with someone, or keep doing something through good times and bad times.
Example: We’ve been friends for 20 years, through thick and thin.

Subset (noun)
A small group of people or things that is part of a larger group.
Example: We asked a small subset of the town’s population for their opinion.

Befriend (verb)
To make friends with someone and treat them in a kind way.
Example: He befriended me at a party.

What is more important: new friends or old ones?

I think both are important. I value the friends I’ve known for what feels like a lifetime just as much as the friend I’ve known for a few months.

I think it’s essential to keep making new friends. People come and go, and sometimes a really close friend or two can move away to a new city. Of course we do our best to stay in touch, and hang out as much as possible, but it can be difficult and sometimes people just drift away because of the distance.

Because of this, I always welcome the opportunity to make new friends. That way I don’t feel like my social circle shrinks as much if someone moves away.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Come and go (idiom)
If someone is present for a limited period of time, and then leaves or disappears, they are said to come and go. Things can come and go too.
Example A: Over the centuries we’ve seen many civilizations come and go.
Example B: Friends can come and go, but family is there for a lifetime.

Move away (phrasal verb)
To stop living somewhere and to go live in another place.
Example: He used to live in Boston but he moved away a long time ago.

Stay in touch (idiom)
If you stay in touch with someone, you maintain contact with them.
Example: It can be really hard to stay in touch with all my friends from school.

Hang out (phrasal verb)
If you spend a lot of time somewhere you are said to hang out there. You can also hang out with people too.
Example: I’ve been hanging out all day at the beach.

Drift away (idiom)
To gradually become distant from someone that you used to be close to.
Example: Phil an I never had a big fight or anything, but we just drifted away from each other over the years and we hardly ever see each other now.

Welcome the opportunity (phrase)
If you welcome an opportunity you are pleased to have the chance to do something.
Example: She welcomed the opportunity to do something different.

Social circle (noun)
A social circle is a group of people that are socially connected.
Example: John didn’t want to be part of her social circle.

How do companies welcome new employees?

I think different companies employ different strategies. Most will do a tour of the office and will explain where basic things are. Perhaps they’ll introduce a new member of staff to colleagues they’ll be working with, but I think aside from this, there isn’t much in the form of a welcome party.

I think a lot of managers realize how stressful it can be for someone that’s starting a new job. Most new employees can appear shy and reserved, but will often come out of their shell after a day or two.

Perhaps they’ll make some new friends at the office, and they’ll be invited for drinks by some of their new coworkers. This can be a really good step towards helping a new member of staff integrate into the office environment.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Aside from (idiom)
Synonym for “except for”.
Example: I hardly watch any TV, aside from the news.

Reserved (adjective)
Someone who is reserved tends not to talk about or show their feelings or thoughts.
Example: Mark is more reserved than his brother.

Come out of your shell (idiom)
To stop being shy and begin to confidently show your real character and feelings.
Example: Alex really came out of his shell at university.

Integrate (verb)
If you become part of a group of people, you’re said to integrate into it. It can be a group of people at university or work, or it can be the new society in a country you’ve moved to. Often you might change yourself in some way to suit their way of life, habits, and customs.
Example A: It’s sometimes difficult to integrate yourself into a society whose culture is very different from your own.
Example B: His work is very good and he seems to have integrated well into the office.

How long will these questions be valid?

At least until the end of April 2020.
Three times a year the British Council changes many of the topics and questions they ask. Sometimes they decide to keep a topic for another four months, but oftentimes they decide to replace it. This one is very likely to be replaced with a new topic at the beginning of May 2020, but it won't be known for sure until then.

Just to let you know, there are 49 possible part 2/3 topics on the current exam. Sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less, and this number changes when the British Council updates the questions.

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I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
Flag
English
globe
United Kingdom
time
27
Speaks:
English
Native
I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!