Discussing Friendship Lesson for English Learners

Friends taking selfie near mountains
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Friendship is central to everyone's life. I've found over the years that students are always happy to speak about their friends. An added bonus is that speaking about friends requires students to speak in the third person — always useful practice for the dreaded 's' in the present simple. Discussing work or conversations about love can be fruitful, but if there are problems at work or at home, students might not want to discuss these popular topics. Friendship, on the other hand, always provides good stories.

Use these quotes about friendship to help students explore their notions, preconceived ideas, expectations, etc. about their own friendships, as well as discuss what true friendship really means. As quotations generally provide insight into the topic, ask students to use the questions to help guide them through a discussion of each quotation.

  • Aim: Improving conversational skills related to friendship
  • Activity: Exploration of the meaning of quotes related to friendship
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced


  • Take a quick classroom survey rating their workplace asking students for a definition of friendship.
  • Compare and contrast traditional views of friendship with the current trend of 'liking' and 'friending' on social networks.
  • Read one of the quotes on work. Discuss as a class using the questions provided in the handout.
  • Have students get into small groups of three to four students.
  • Ask students to use the questions to discuss the quotes and how they relate to their own friendships.
  • As a class, ask students if there were any comments/views that surprised them and why.
  • As a class, clarify the characteristics of a good friend. Write a list on the board separating acquaintance and friend. What are the differences between the two?
  • As a follow-up exercise, ask each student to write a short cause and effect essay based on their favorite quote about friendship. Students should include the reasons why they believe the quote is true and what effects following the advice should have.


Evaluate each quote below using these questions.

  • Does the quote define friendship? How?
  • Does the quote seem to suggest the differences between a true friend and someone who is not?
  • Does the quote provide a 'key' to success in friendships? If yes, what seems to be the key?
  • Does the quote caution you about something concerning friendship?
  • Is the quote humorous? If yes, what's the point of the joke?
  • Which quote seems the closest to your own definition of friendship?
  • Which quote do you disagree with? Why?


  • “Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus
  • “It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” ― Marlene Dietrich
  • “The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.” ― Jay McInerney, The Last of the Savages
  • “The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” ― Bette Midler
  • “Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.” ― Oscar Wilde
  • “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” ― Aristotle
  • “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.” ― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
  • “Friendship is delicate as a glass, once broken it can be fixed but there will always be cracks” ― Waqar Ahmed
  • “Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Collected Works
  • “The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.” ― Aristotle
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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Discussing Friendship Lesson for English Learners." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/discussing-friendship-lesson-for-english-learners-1210577. Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 27). Discussing Friendship Lesson for English Learners. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/discussing-friendship-lesson-for-english-learners-1210577 Beare, Kenneth. "Discussing Friendship Lesson for English Learners." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/discussing-friendship-lesson-for-english-learners-1210577 (accessed March 30, 2023).