IELTS Speaking Part 2&3 #31 Describe a time you talked to a stranger

Describe a time you talked to a stranger. You should say:
Where it happened. When it happened
What you talked with each other And explain how you felt about it

Sample answer:

I have to admit that I’m not of much of a sociable person – I mean, I am quite shy and inhibited, so most of the time I tend to avoid talking to strangers. But there was a time when I was forced to talk to one, and it happened around 5 years ago, on my very first trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

I was a 20-year-old freshman back then, and I was unable to navigate my way to HCMC University of Education where I applied for. Back then Google Map wasn’t as popular as it is nowadays, so the only way I could figure out the way is by asking the locals. After hours wandering around, I finally resorted to asking a lady who was selling noodles at a food cart near where I stood. I put all the efforts and courage into uttering those words “Aunt, would you be so kind as to show me the way to the HCMC University of Education?” I did find myself a little bit absurd for being too formal, yet anyway I did it, and I was proud of it. The elderly lady smiled and pointed at the large, nameless building across the road, saying “It’s over there, my son.” It took me around 3 minutes to pull myself together to finally understand that I had spent roughly 3 hours going around my destination!

The university was under repair back then, so I was unable to realize that it was the right one. Finally, I passed through the school entrance, with a smile on my face, promising myself that I would be more willing to talk to people in the future.

Follow-up questions:

  1. What might be a reason for a person to start a conversation with a stranger? Well, I suppose one of the most common situations would be when you might want to ask someone for directions or for help if you are lost in a strange place. You could need to find out about something and need to ask for information about a product or service and so start a conversation with a customer service representative or salesperson. And you might find yourself waiting or stuck in a place with some other people unexpectedly and just start talking or complaining about the situation, as a way of killing time until the situation is resolved.
  2. Do you like to start conversations with strangers? [Why/Why not?] Personally, no, I generally don’t mind if someone talks to me first, but I’m not the one who usually starts a conversation. I’m quite shy and reserved so I prefer to listen to music or read a book if I have to wait somewhere. I only start conversations with other people if I find myself in a situation as I mentioned earlier and I need some information or help.
  3. How often do you do that?
    I suppose it doesn’t happen that often, maybe once or twice a month. I remember the last time was a couple of weeks ago when I was going for an interview for an internship and I got confused about the address. I had to ask two different people to help me find the right building where the interview was to be held, even though I managed to find the correct street on my own.
  4. What is the advantage of network communication, for example through Facebook or Twitter?
    The main advantage is probably the fact that you can talk and communicate with people from all over the world. And it’s usually instant or certainly easier than arranging to meet to have a chat. There are no geographical boundaries so you can be in contact with many more people than those you would normally come into contact with personally in your everyday life. I regularly chat with people in other countries and I know that I’ll probably never meet them in person, but it’s interesting all the same.
  5. Which one is better, being introvert or extrovert?
    I think there is no definitive answer to this question as it is a controversial issue and everyone has an opinion. On the one hand, an introvert enjoys solitude and operates as a loner most of the time. Furthermore, they have only a few friends and they don’t open up easily to others about personal matters. Great scientists, poets, artists and talented people were often introverted. Being introvert means people will have more time to think and create something new.
  6. On the other hand, being extrovert means that someone is friendly, outgoing, sociable, and affectionate and has large groups of friends. Oftentimes, they engage in different kinds of activities and they share things that concern them with their friends. Regarding which type of personality is more preferable, I would say that ‘ambient people’ is the answer to me. I don’t think that being totally introvert or extrovert is good, but combining these two types would be the most appropriate.
  7. What type of person are you?
    That’s a really difficult question for me and I confess that I haven’t even thought about it. The truth is that I have only 5 close friends, they are like siblings to me and I discuss anything that happens in my life with them. I wouldn’t say that I’m always an outgoing and sociable person except for the times that I really want to. For example, I am not the type of girl who will go out every day and meet new people but when I was at university I showed others the social part of myself in order to make friends. I know it sounds a little weird and creepy, but this is the way I am. So, I would say that I’m more of an introvert person, with some elements of extroversion when needed.
  8. What important aspects do you consider to make new friends?
    ‘Friend’ is a sacred notion for me and they are as important as family. First of all, as I mentioned earlier, friends are nothing less than siblings to me and they are the people we have chosen to have in our life for whatever reason. A real and strong friendship should be based on true feelings and not on selfishness. Virtues like love, trust, honesty, compassion, affection and kindness are indispensable parts of this concept. Moreover, being there when your friend needs you, help them whenever you can, console them when they get hurt and be happy with their achievements are some of the main characteristics. Everyone should invest in emotions and show them to friends in certain circumstances. Besides, if people don’t give and receive love in their life, nothing would have a meaning and I believe friends are there to do just that.