We have relationships with lots of different people: our family and our friends; husbands and wives; girlfriends and boyfriends; our work mates and class mates; our boss, clients, contractors and employees; doctors, dentists, gym buddies etc. In addition, we also have relationships with things: our pets, our cars, technological devices, football teams, music and even food and alcohol. 

Some of these relationships are healthy, some of them unhealthy and some are just insane! Furthermore, the relationships we have with these people and things changes over time; sometimes your relationship is full of the joys of spring, and then suddenly it or they just get on your nerves and you decide it’s time to run for the hills.

Interestingly, in my relationships it’s usually the other person that’s breaking the speed of light to get distance from me.  And, curiously, even the things I love appear to want a divorce. Luckily, my Teckie Knight makes their flight a little more difficult.

So, what are your Top 3 Healthy Relationships, your Top 3 Unhealthy Relationships and your Top 3 Insane Relationships?   Come on ‘spill the beans’?

According to my brother, these are my Top 3 Unhealthy Relationships:

  1. She’s head over heels in love with Leeds United
  2. She thinks her Apple Nano is actually a human limb
  3. She has an allergic reaction when she is close to anything that resembles a kitchen appliance, a clothes shop or a hairdresser

Well, is he pulling my leg? The above list just goes to show that blood might be thicker than water but my brother doesn’t know me at all.  Seriously, I’m mad about my coffee machine– and that’s a kitchen appliance. Also, what’s the problem with listening to music?  It’s an efficient way of experiencing lots of emotions.




marital status 2Ok, recently I’ve been wondering why is it that everyone appears to be obsessed with our marital status.  Nowadays, you can’t fill in an official document without declaring your marital status.

Moreover, I can’t go to a family get-together without some relation inspecting my fingers for an engagement ring or asking me if I’m dating.  And, when I say NO, they pull a face, that says: ‘ Oh poor Janette she’s pathetic and she’s never going to settle down and she’s going to die alone’. I KID YOU NOT; seriously, why is it that important?

facebook defines relationships

Furthermore, I don’t think they, or for that matter, the author who wrote ‘50 Shades of Grey’ understand the modern concepts of: Happily Single, Friends with Benefits, Friends for Life, Saturday Night Fever, Leeds United and Advancements in Technology!

It’s ridiculous! They all need to wake up and smell the coffee! Even, Facebook gets it.

Anyway, some of the key words for Romantic Relationships are written below. Can you define them?


Key Words and Phrases


To flirt / To

chat up  / To lust


To get to know someone


To go on a date / To make out / To stay over


Chemistry – I don’t know what this means, but someone told me that it’s one of the three most important things in a successful romantic relationship.  Help me, what are they talking about?


To go out with / To date / To go steady


To fall in love / To be in love / To be addicted to


To ask someone to marry them


To get engaged


Fiancé / Fiancée


Hen night / Stag Night


To get married / To tie the knot / To get hitched


Wedding / Reception




Hard work / Compromise


You did what?!


If you can think of any more, please post your comments.  Truth be told, I’m not very knowledgeable about this type of relationship.  To quote an exceptionally wise and astute woman I am a ‘family of one’. 



interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal relationships are developed at work and at school, at home and in social situations.

Employers always want people with exceptional interpersonal skills, for example the ability to communicate, to listen, and to get on well with diverse groups of people.

Families develop interpersonal relationships through a series of rules, habits and personal beliefs.

And, in my social situations interpersonal relationships are developed by playing pool, having my ass kicked at 10-pin bowling, drinking beer and yelling obscene things while watching football.

The English language has a load of phrasal verbs that are used to describe actions connected to interpersonal relationships. Do you know what the following phrasal verbs mean and in which context you would use them?

Phrasal Verbs


To ask after


To bring up


To fall for


To get on with


To grow up


To look down on


To look up to


To put down


To settle down


To stand up for


To take after


CRM business relationships VOCABULARY ACTIVITY THREE: WORK: Business Relationships

It is said that there are three main types of relationships in business: personal relationships, functional relationships and strategic relationships.

Personal relationships are those that may be developed at work but are not connected to your job. On the other hand, functional relationships are connected to your specific job, for example with your work mates, your suppliers and your clients and customers. Relationships that are developed beyond the boundaries of your business are known as strategic relationships.

Regarding business relationships can you define the following verbs?

Phrases to Develop Business Relationships


To manage


To line manage


To lead


To inspire


To motivate


To guide


To set up


To expand


To merge


To take over


To stand up for


To take after




READING CHALLENGE ONE: Romantic Relationship – The Key to Success


healthy romantic relationships

Is someone pulling my leg? These are the words that are supposed to define a healthy romantic relationship: COOKING, COOKING, COOKING!  Come on, what’s that about?

So, is this the idea: If I can bake a chocolate cake, or fry an egg, or perhaps whip up lasagna, then I’m going to have a successful romantic relationship?

I understand the saying that: the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but I thought that’s why we invented take away restaurants?!

If this is true, then maybe my relatives have a point when they say that I’m never going to settle down because if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that I’m never going to learn how to cook. In addition, I’m not that hot at remembering birthdays either.  OMG, am I a disaster waiting to happen?  No, please don’t answer that.  I don’t want to know.

Ok, as a result of the above vocabulary I decided to seek advice from some professionals and this is what they said:

Building a Healthy Relationship – The Beginning Stages:

According to a relationship counselor while the early months of a relationship can feel effortless and exciting, successful long-term relationships involve ongoing effort and compromise by both partners. Building healthy patterns early in your relationship can establish a solid foundation for the long run. When you are just starting a relationship, it is important to:

  1. Build. Build a foundation of appreciation and respect. Focus on all the considerate things your partner says and does. Happy couples make a point of noticing even small opportunities to say “thank you” to their partner, rather than focusing on mistakes their partner has made.
  2. Explore. Explore each other’s interests so that you have a long list of things to enjoy together. Try new things together to expand mutual interests.
  3. Establish. Establish a pattern of apologizing if you make a mistake or hurt your partner’s feelings. Saying “I’m sorry” may be hard in the moment, but it goes a long way towards healing a rift in a relationship. Your partner will trust you more if he or she knows that you will take responsibility for your words and actions.

medicationWhat?!? Are they having a laugh?

OMG, that’s all too much effort, and despite being native I honestly don’t understand the point about Establish. Do you understand this?

Personally, I reckon a constant flow of prescription medication is the key to a successful relationship.  However, if you are want to read what the professionals think then click here

READING CHALLENGE TWO: Building Business Relationships

customer-serviceWe all have business relationships but not everyone understands what it takes to develop and maintain an effective business relationship.

For example, my Internet Provider is clueless; they might as well take my money and then shove my head down the toilet; customer service is definitely not on their agenda.

Having said that, what is it that we want from our business relationships?

What is it that makes an effective long-term business relationship? Is it respect, honesty, loyalty, competitive prices, quality, clear meaningful communication? What do you think?

According to Inc. a well –known business consultancy it’s simple. Want to know how?  Read on

READING CHALLENGE THREE: Rock Climbing, Relationships, Trust and Friendship

Carlos VertikaliaLast weekend, despite my better judgment, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try rock climbing.  The night before, I started wondering if I should write a will, practice the crash position and superglue a safety helmet to my head.  In the end, I decided to drink a bottle of wine, take some aspirin to prevent a hangover and pray that my friend was not going to allow me to experience free falling.

Fortunately, the reality of my experience was nothing like my insane fears.  Rock climbers are adrenalin junkies, they are focused, they are determined, and their mental and physical strength is awe inspiring.  They also use a lot of bad language, and I learnt a lot of Spanish words and phrases that I wouldn’t find in a dictionary.  However, truth be told, none of that was my lasting impression. The thing I took away from this experience, besides a broken body and some humiliation (of course I was RUBBISH – if there was an elevator up the rock, I still wouldn’t have made it!) was the sense of camaraderie between climbers.

JuanchoWe were like the United Nations; there were climbers from all over Spain, from Poland, from Germany, from Russia, and GET IN, from England.  Some climbers had met before and some hadn’t and yet it felt like these people had known each other for years.  In fact, it felt like these people were from the same family: sharing food, lending equipment, giving advice and supporting each other in success or failure.  In my opinion, the essence of this strong bond, this relationship between climbers, is based on trust and respect.

Despite the fact that I’m not sure I will go rock climbing again, I can honestly say I learnt a lot about the genuine goodness in people, and in my book that’s worth more than a million bucks.  In addition, I had the opportunity to fall in love with Andalusia all over again. What more can a girl ask for?!

vertikaliaSo, if you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something different, or maybe you just want to meet some new people in a beautiful setting and wear a sexy harness, then get in touch with Carlos. Carlos has calve muscles as round as apples and as hard as marble, he climbs rocks like an Ibex and he is the perfect trainer, he encourages, he motivates, he’s super friendly and he makes you feel like you can do better. He is also the owner of Vertikalia an Andalucian climbing shop and training centre.

So, get a group of friends together, check out his website: and give him a call on: +33 691 80 4223






adele someone like you

Adele sings a beautiful ballad about the bitter sweet  taste of falling in and out of love.

Check it out and improve your listening comprehension, and your knowledge of phrasal verbs in context:

I heard that you’re settled down, that you’ve found a girl and that you’re married now

Click here for the track and lyrics:


LISTENING ACTIVITY TWO:  Customer Service: There’s got to be a better way

customer service

Who hasn’t phoned a call centre, or a customer help line, or technical support?

Of course, we all have at some point.   What was your experience?  Did you spent 20 minutes on hold listening to some dull as dishwater  music and then when finally you hear a voice, it’s prerecorded, and it’s telling you that all the lines are busy and that you can continue holding or you can call back later. Grrrrrrrr, it’s so annoying!

Check out this experience, does it ring any bells?

LISTENING ACTIVITY THREE:  Red Hot Chili Peppers: I could die for you


RHCP I could die for you

In my humble opinion, this is one of the best songs about romantic relationships of the last decade:

Something inside the cards I know is right. Don’t want to live somebody else’s life. This is what I want to be and this is what I give to you because I get it free. 

 Click here for the track and lyrics

However, I was recently reminded of the Joe Cocker version of: ‘You are so beautiful’ and maybe this is one of the most tender songs of the 70’s. Click here for the track and lyrics.  What do you think? Don’t be shy, what songs make you feel all loved up?


SPEAKING CHALLENGE ONE: How well do you get on with people?

2 peas in a podTo help improve your use of common expressions connect three of the following expressions with three different people and talk for 30 seconds about each relationship.




We get on well with each other.

We have a friendly relationship.

We don’t get on.

We don’t have a friendly relationship.

He gets on my nerves.

I find him irritating.

We get on like a house on fire.

We have a lot in common and really enjoy each other’s company.

We are like chalk and cheese.

We are completely different.

We are like two peas in a pod.

We are really alike.

We have fallen out.

We have had an argument.

We have made up.

We had an argument but now we are friends again.

I take after my father.

I have his personality or features.



Customer Service

complaining dvdRole One: You are a customer. Last week you bought a DVD player on sale. When you tried to set it up at home, you discovered that it did not work. Today you take it back to the shop and explain the situation to the manager.

Invent the details of the situation and decide what course of action you will take (you would like to get a refund). Try to come to an agreement.

Role Two: You are the manager of an electrical equipment store. A customer has come in to complain about a product that does not work. Your shop has a no-refund policy for things bought during the sales.

Listen to the customer, explain your shop’s sales policy and offer alternative solutions. Try to come to an agreement.

SPEAKING CHALLENGE THREE: Mobile Technology and Relationships – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Paar im Restaurant schaut auf HandysMake a 4 minute oral presentation about how you think mobile phones affect our relationships.  Please talk about the advantages and disadvantages.




online shopping

Online Shopping is on the increase as are the number of associated complaints.

Imagine you have recently ordered something from the department store, John Lewis, through their online shopping website but you are not happy with the service neither the product. Write to the company complaining about three things.

You must:

1.    Say why you are writing and describe the context

2.    Explain the reasons you are dissatisfied and therefore complaining

3.    Express what you want the company to do about the situation

Here are some phrases you might find useful:









Dating Profile C20Do people we get on well with have the same personality traits as ourselves? Or, is it more likely that opposites attract? Free is a UK based online dating company, that tries to help match people together for friendship or for a romantic relationship.   If you want to improve your vocabulary, their website is great place to spend 10 minutes:

Also, if you want to improve your writing technique, imagine you have joined an online dating company.  Write a profile about yourself in less than 100 words. Are you like Cinderella2020?

What type of person are you? 

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