ESL Topics: Personality


Beginner:

1.) What kind of person would you describe yourself as?

I would describe myself as an easy-going person. I tend to be reserved at first but once I get to know you, I become more outgoing.

2.) Do you take after anyone in your family?

I take after my father. We both have a short-temper.

3.) What makes you most happy in your life?

When I'm stress free at home doing nothing, is when I am the happiest.

4.) What makes you the most sad in your life?

Monday mornings fill my life with sadness.

5.) Which situations cause you to feel most shy? Why?

Formal situations like weddings, and family reunions always make me feel shy and act awkward.

6.) What do you enjoy doing in your alone time?

I rarely have the opportunity to spend time with just myself. If given the chance, I love to listen to audio books and go for walks. I like to keep things as simple as possible.

7.) What do you enjoy doing when you are with your friends?

My friends and I are geeks. When we get together we play video games. We are not into manly things, like sports.

8.) What are you working on improving with regards to your personality?

I'm trying to be more open-minded. Many people tend to think I'm very conservative and narrow-minded. It has to do with my upbringing.



Intermediate:

If these topic questions are too easy, try this:

Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Band 6.5+ with Answers and Audio CD

1.) How would you describe your upbringing? Did it influence your personality?

I had a fairly normal childhood. However, my father was very strict and often enforced corporal punishment?

2.) What personality traits do you consider important in a friend? How about a boss?

I'd say an important quality a friend must have is they must have a good sense of humour and be lighthearted, whereas a boss must be serious and professional.

3.) Would you consider yourself more introverted or extroverted?

I definitely prefer spending time alone or with close friends. So, I'm definitely an introvert.

4.) Would you consider yourself optimistic or pessimistic about your future (glass half empty or glass half full)?



Advanced:

1.) Do you think birth order influences personality?

Being the second born son in my family, nothing I do garners the same attention or reaction as that of the families first born son. I live in the shadow of my older brother.

2.) Do you have any mannerisms or habits that others might have noticed about you.

I constantly bite my nails and twirl my hair when under stress, or in uncomfortable situations. It's something I'm working on.

3.) What is something that get's under your skin (slang: pisses you off)?

Although I was a smoker for half my life I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes. I cannot fathom how anyone would ever kiss an ashtray.

4.) How does your culture treat those who have awkward personalities? Do you work with any strange or unique people? Do you get along well?

Since Canada is a very multicultural country many people fall into the category of unique or strange. I think the word "strange" has a negative connotation when describing someone, but I do work with a few unique people. At first it was uncomfortable, but eventually they grew on me.


Match:

Match the words from column 1 with the best-suited answer in column 2.


Column 1 Column 2
1.) easy-going a.) resemble
2.) short-temper b.) not very social or fashionable.
3.) take after c.) childhood
4.) manly d.) stubborn
5.) geek/nerd e.) get angry easily
6.) upbringing f.) gets along with everyone
7.) narrow-minded g.) negative
8.) pessimistic h.) quirk, habit, tic
9.) mannerisms i.) starting to like more and more
10.) grew on me j.) things men do


Questions:

1.) What do you want to take up this year?

2.) Who looked after you the most when growing up?

3.) Has anyone mentioned to you that you have some noticeable mannerisms?

4.) How was your childhood? Did you have a good upbringing?

5.) Who is more narrow-minded your mother or your father?

6.) What does the opposite sex do that you can't stand?

7.) How has your personality changed since you started a family?

8.) How has your personality changed since you became single?

9.) What qualities do you look for in a partner?

10.) How were you punished as a child? Did you have strict parents?

11.) Are you optimistic about your future?

12.) Who do you take after your mother or father?

13.) What characteristics are you trying to improve in your life?


Vocabulary:

  • easy-going: A person who likes everyone and isn't picky about activities. "Do you think he would enjoy screen golfing? "Of course, he's really easy-going."
  • reserved: Someone who doesn't share his emotions or opinions right away. "She can be quite reserved with strangers."
  • outgoing: Someone who is confident around people, talkative, and friendly. "I tried to be outgoing but I always end up an awkward mess."
  • take after: Who you resemble; can be both personality or appearance. "My brother and I both take after our appearance."
  • short temper: Someone who gets angry fast and easily. "Please be careful what you say around my father he has a short temper."
  • awkward: A situation or person that makes you feel uncomfortable. "Watching the sex scene from that movie next to my mother made me feel awkward as hell."
  • "If given the chance": To have an opportunity. "If given the chance I would definitely teach in Japan."
  • geek/nerd: Someone who is socially awkward and doesn't fit in. "He's a grown man who spends all day watching Naruto. He's such a nerd!"
  • manly: Masculine behavior. "You're supposed to do manly things like play soccer and watch UFC, not girly things like collect action figures."
  • open-minded: Willing to try new things and accept opinions other than your own. "I'm lucky my mom is so open-minded, otherwise I couldn't have a foreigner boyfriend."
  • narrow-minded: Not willing to try new things or listen to differing ideas; stubborn. My father is so narrow-minded. I hate having to talk to him about my dreams and goals."
  • upbringing: How you were raised; childhood. "I have no complaints about my upbringing, aside from not seeing my father much. "
  • strict: Rules and beliefs must be followed exactly. "Private schools have very strict teachers compared to public schools."
  • corporal punishment: Using physical force to discipline someone. "When I grew up corporal punishment was normal."
  • traits/qualities: Adjectives used to describe someone's behavior or attitude. "There aren't any good qualities about him, he is always loud, arrogant, and rude."
  • introverted: Preferring time alone. "She not shy, just introverted. Books are her best friend."
  • extroverted: Preferring time with others. "One of her traits is that she is an extrovert, she always has to be with people."
  • optimistic: Positive thoughts. "I am really optimistic about my test results this time. "
  • pessimistic: Negative thoughts. "I have to stop being so pessimistic about my future, it's not good for my health."
  • "I live in the shadow of": Not getting any attention because someone is better or more recognized that you. "I've always been ignored because I live in my successful brothers shadow." "Second born children usually live in the shadow of their older sibling."
  • mannerisms: A habit or action you do often. "One of his mannerisms is that he is always twirling his hair."
  • twirl: To repeatedly turn or spin something. "She's always twirling her hair when she's bored."
  • "under your skin": Something that bothers you a lot. A slang way of saying "I really hate" "The way she chews her gum really gets under my skin."
  • fathom: To understand a problem after much thought. Usually used in a negative sentence. "I can't fathom how anyone would choose to smoke."
  • connotation: A feeling a word creates other than it's original meaning. For example, if I don't want to be rude I can describe someone as being youthful or young at heart instead of saying they are immature. Immature has a negative connotation (the person doesn't act their age). While youthful is positive since it has an energetic connotation. "Otaku in Korea has a negative connotation. However, in Canada it doesn't have a negative connotation."
  • "grew on me": You begin to like more and more as time passes. "I didn't like working with Dan at first, but he started to grow on me once I found out he was from Canada."

Daily Expressions & Idioms:

1.) "take up": To start a new hobby.

"I was considering taking up a new hobby this summer."

2.) "look after": To protect or take care of.

"Growing up in Toronto, you have to learn how to look after yourself."