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Friends Conversation Half! An ESL speaking & discourse activity

A very difficult activitiy in which students work in pairs to complete a phone conversation after hearing only one speaker. Learners must figure out what the other speaker might have said. This is advanced and will be very tough for learners. Teachers can make it easier by eliciting.

This one is based on a Friends episode in which Monica beeps into her ex-boyfriend's answering machine, hears a message from a woman, and then calls her ex-boyfriend's daughter to find out if the daughter left the message or if there might be a new girlfriend in the picture. Monica hangs up but the ex-boyfriend's daughter, Michelle, calls back. Set the scene, play the clip, and then give students a worksheet with Monica's part of the conversation.

This is from season three, episode two, The One Where No One's Ready. As I put this online, the following clip shows why Monica called: while this one has the actual conversation half (the phone call):

Monica: Uh, Michelle.


Monica: Yeah, that was me. I dialed your number by mistake.


Monica: You're so sweet.


Monica: Yeah, we were a great couple.


Monica: I know. I really miss him.


Monica: Well, you know how it is...[leaves room talking on phone]




Monica : [comes back in, still on phone] ...Michelle, I only beeped in so I could hear my own message. I mean, that's allowed.


Monica: Yuh-uh! You know, I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't tell your dad...


Monica: What do you mean you don't feel comfortable with this? Come on! We're friends! [dial tone] That bitch always hated me. I'm gonna call her back.

Discuss using this activity in the classroom