Exercise 1

A. Listen to a professor talk about author Deborah Tannen’s ideas. In Tannen’s opinion, what is the main difference between friendship among men and friendship among women?

B. Listen again. According to Tannen, which of these things do male friends often do (M) and which do female friends often do (F)? Write the correct letter.

___ 1   are direct and to the point

___ 2   discuss daily life at length

___ 3   reveal private thoughts

___ 4   prefer to share factual information

___ 5   value activities over talk

___ 6   talk as a way to better understand their lives



According to Tannen, the main difference between friendship among men and friendship among women is that men and women communicate differently.


1 M   2 F   3 F   4 M   5 M   6 F


Professor Roth:   All right, class . . . um, how was everyone’s weekend? Did anyone get together with a friend? Yes, Jessica, what did you do?

Jessica:   Um, well, nothing much, really. Some of my girlfriends and I went out for lunch. We pretty much sat at a café and talked.

Professor Roth:   Uh-huh. What about?

Jessica:   Um, you know, about nothing . . . and everything! Um, let’s see, about my sister’s new baby, and about when she could go back to work, and, you know, who should take care of the baby. Things like that.

Professor Roth:   OK! Now, what about the guys? Any of you get together with a friend?

George:   Uh, well, a . . . a buddy and I went to a ballgame.

Professor Roth:   OK. What did you talk about?

George:   Uh . . . the game? I mean, you know, when we’re at the game we, you know, talk about the players and what’s going on in the game and . . .

Professor Roth:   Nothing else?

George:   Well, not really. I mean, were we supposed to talk about something?

Professor Roth:   Perfect! Do you know what just happened, class? Jessica and George have just demonstrated for us the basic idea of today’s lecture – that friendship between women is different from friendship between men.

This is an idea put forward by Deborah Tannen in her book, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, and that’s what I’ d like to talk about today.

Now, Deborah Tannen is an author and linguist who has written about the relationships between men and women and why they often don’t understand one another.

According to Tannen, when a woman talks with a man, she often feels as though he isn’t really listening or that they aren’t really having a conversation, right? And a man often doesn’t understand what the woman really wants from him. “What’s her point?” he wonders. “Where is this conversation going?” How many of you feel that this sounds familiar? OK, most of you.

Well, Tannen points out that we can understand this difference in communication better when we examine how men and women view friendship.

  1. For a woman, her best friend is someone she can be close with and talk to. They talk in detail about everyday events in their lives. They share feelings and secrets. Talking gives women a chance to better understand their world – and themselves.

For a man, talking is generally more straightforward. It’s about giving and getting facts. Men generally don’t base their friendships on talking but on doing – getting together with buddies, playing sports, or going places. Men will often put down a woman’s need to talk with her close friend about a subject in great detail. They don’t understand how women can put up with such long conversations.

OK, so, who here agrees with Tannen’s ideas?

Exercise 2

A. Listen to Dena talk about how she met her friend Kate. Where were they when they first met? Where did they meet again?

B. Listen again. Then answer the following questions.

1   Why were Dena and Kate going to Los Angeles?

2   What did Dena regret after she said good-bye to Kate?

3   How much time passed between their first and second meetings?

4   How did Samantha, the guest at the party, know Kate?



They first met on a plane.

They met again at a party.


1   Dena was going to Los Angeles for work. Kate was going to Los Angeles to take a connecting flight to Monterey.

2   Dena regretted that she had forgotten to ask for Kate’s email address or telephone number.

3   Three months.

4   They had been roommates in college.


Dena:   It’s really crazy how Kate and I became friends. I guess it was about two years ago now. I was on a plane, flying from New York to Los Angeles for work. Anyway, I noticed that the woman sitting next to me was reading the same book as me, so we started talking. She told me her name was Kate, and that she was going to her college roommate’s wedding in Monterey. We had a great conversation and talked the entire trip – seven hours!

But, unfortunately, the flight had been delayed in New York by bad weather, and when we got to L.A., Kate found out she’d missed her connecting flight to Monterey. So, I invited her to stay with me in my hotel in L.A., but the airline had already promised to give her a room at a hotel near the airport, and she had to catch a really early flight the next day. We talked and talked until the hotel shuttle bus came, but as her bus drove away, I realized that I had completely forgotten to get her email, telephone number, or anything! Ugh. I felt bad because I would have liked to hang out with her back in New York. We had a lot in common.

Well, three months later, my roommate had a bunch of people over for a party one Thursday evening. I started talking to this woman, Samantha. She told me she had just gotten married a few months ago in Monterey.

I remembered Kate had said she was going to a wedding in Monterey, so I then asked her if she’d had a roommate in college named Kate. She was very surprised and said that she had. Then I told her all about meeting Kate on the plane to L.A. So, to make a long story short, Samantha called Kate up right away, and Kate came over to the party. It was so exciting to see her again, and we’re all good friends now.

Exercise 3

Listen to a conversation between two friends at an airport. Then check (✓) the correct answers.

1   Carlos is ________.

      a   waiting for his best friend

      b   going on vacation

      c   going to Mexico City

2   Carlos has known Alvaro since ________.

      a   he moved to San Francisco

      b   he moved from Mexico City

      c   elementary school

3   Hariko calls her friend ________.

      a   every week

      b   once a month

      c   every day

4   Hariko is going to L.A. ________.

      a   to work on her thesis

      b   to visit her best friend

      c   for her job


1 a   2 c   3 b   4 a


Hariko:   Hi, Carlos! How funny to run into you here! Are you going on vacation?

Carlos:   Hariko, hi! No, I’m waiting for my best friend Alvaro to arrive. He’s visiting me from Mexico City this week.

Hariko:   Cool! Is he an old friend?

Carlos:   Yeah, I’ve known him since we were in elementary school.

Hariko:   Wow, that’s amazing. And you haven’t drifted apart in all this time?

Carlos:   Nope! We’ve been best friends the whole time, even after I moved to San Francisco. We talk almost every week. I can’t wait to see him in person! It’s hard because we don’t get to see each other very often.

Hariko:   I can empathize with you. I have a friend like that back home. I don’t know how I’ve done without her. We used to talk every day.

Carlos:   Where is she now?

Hariko:   She’s in Osaka. I call her about once a month or so. But we e-mail a lot.

Carlos:   E-mail, yeah … It’s not the same, though, is it?

Hariko:   No, it’s not the same. But I know our friendship will endure. We’ve been through so much together.

Carlos:   Do you ever get to see her?

Hariko:   Not really. She’s so busy with her job, and I’m trying to finish my degree. I don’t have much time to travel.

Carlos:   So what are you doing at the airport, Hariko?

Hariko:   I’m going down to L.A. for a few days to do some research for my thesis. Oh … and I’m about to miss my plane! I’ve got to run, see you later!

Carlos:   Bye, good luck!

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