IELTS Listening Online – Sample 15

Listen to the video and answer the questions below.

Then, scroll to the bottom of the page for the answers and a transcript of the recording.

Friendship & vulnerability

This is a very short video and some of the answers are close together, so listen carefully right from the start.


Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD for each answer.

It can seem something of a 1 .................... as to how friendships are formed.

The basis of many close relationships is 2 ……………..… .

We generally believe that it’s our strengths and 3 ……………….. that people like us for.

We keep many things a secret for fear that other people will 4 ……………….. at us if they know the truth.

Two of the most valuable things we possess are our self-respect and 5 ……………….. .

Answers & transcript

Scroll down for the answers and recording transcript.


    1.  mystery

    2.  vulnerability

    3.  accomplishments

    4.  laugh

    5.  dignity


Friendship & vulnerability

We're sometimes not too sure how we get into good friendships. It seems to happen rather mysteriously. We talk of somewhat randomly clicking with people. Trying to plan for this sounds like cheating. But there is something at the heart of many friendships that seemed important to identify and in a way to get good at: vulnerability.

It's too easy to assume that what makes us likeable are our strengths and accomplishments, the things we're proud of. Certainly this impresses, but it isn't what draws others to us. We get close to someone the more they and we find ourselves able gracefully to depart from the official story of what human beings are like and can start to show the awkward truths which underlie the cheerful facade.

These are the truths with which we've been lonely for too long. How unlike normal sexuality our sex lives actually are; how full of envy our careers are proving; how unsatisfactory our family can be; how worried we are, all the time. Revealing any of these things places us in great danger. Others could laugh; social media would have a field day. That's the point. We can only get close by revealing things which would, in the wrong hands, be capable of inflicting appalling humiliation on us.

Friendship is the dividend of gratitude that flows from acknowledgement that one has offered something very valuable to someone. Not a fancy present, but something even more precious: the key to one's self-esteem and dignity. It's deeply poignant that we should expend so much effort on trying to look strong before the world. When all the while, it's really only ever the revelation of the somewhat embarrassing, sad, melancholy and anxious bits of us that are what makes us endearing to others and can transform strangers into friends.

Source: TED Ed  Video created by The School of Life

To learn How to Answer Sentence Completion Questions, click this link.

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More IELTS Listening Practice Samples

Here are a few examples of the many practice activities I've created:

Sample 1 – The science of cotton

Sample 2 – Why perfect grades don’t matter

Sample 3 – The loathsome, lethal mosquito

Sample 4 – Will there ever be a mile-high skyscraper?

Sample 5 – The history of African-American social dance

Sample 6 – Families - The generation gap

Sample 7 – Greeting the world in peace

Sample 8 – How cigarettes affect the body

Sample 9 – How do oceans currents work?

Sample 10 – How to make red lentil fritters

To see the full list of practice samples, click this link:

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