A. Have a natural conversation with a partner about the pictures above and the questions below.
- Does the personality we are born with determine our lives, or do the things that happen to us shape our personality as we grow older? Do you think there may be key aspects of our personality which were already in us when we were very young?
- Do you have more good qualities than bad ones? What good qualities do you value on other people? Do you think our leaders should be more outspoken on human rights? How important is it to be trustworthy nowadays? Are the people around you even-tempered?
- What five traits characterise you? What are your main qualities? What are your main defects? How do your friends “see” you? Are you witty?
- Are you easy or uneasy opening up to other people? Are you gregarious? or do you try to avoid other people getting personally too close to you? Tell us about a person you know who you would consider a dark horse.
- Do you commit yourself fully
to things you take on? Are there any last-minute deadline junkies where you work? Do you work more comfortably with circumspect or with impetuous colleagues?
- Do you feel confident in your ability to deal with any situation? Tell us about a tough cookie you know.
- Tell us about a person you know who is very set in his ways. How do you feel about people who are obstinate?
- How do other people annoy you most? What irritates you most about other people? Are there any busybodies where you work? How do you respond to inquisitive people? What about detail-obsessed nit-pickers? How do you feel with someone who is domineering? What about someone who is a wet blanket? What personality do you find most infuriating?
- Is there also a relationship between our personality traits and how successful we are in education or at work? Tell us about a big cheese you know.
- Can you tell us about the last time you met someone who came across as courteous?
- How important is it to be self-reliant nowadays? Do you know any public figure who can be described as a loose cannon?
outspoken: Saying what you think, without embarrassment.
trustworthy: If you can be sure that sb will do what they ought to do or what they have said they will do. Reliable, dependable.
even-tempered: Not easily made angry. Calm, relaxed.
witty: Using words in a clever and amusing way.
Gregarious: /ɡrɪˈɡeəriəs/ liking to be with other people. Sociable. E.g. She's very outgoing and gregarious.
dark horse: a person who doesn’t tell others very much about himself/herself, but has surprising qualities or abilities. E.g. She's a dark horse. I didn't know she had lived in Japan.
take something/somebody on: to decide to do something; to agree to be responsible for something/somebody. E.g. I can't take on any extra work. We're not taking on any new clients at present.
last-minute deadline junkies: people who leave doing their work until the last minute before it needs to be finished.
Junkie: 1. a drug addict. 2. a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something E.g. power junkies.
Circumspect: /ˈsɜːkəmspekt/ thinking very carefully about something before doing it, because there may be risks involved. Cautious. E.g. He was very circumspect in his financial affairs.
Impetuous: /ɪmˈpetʃuəs/ acting or done quickly and without thinking carefully about the results. Impulsive. E.g. an impetuous young woman. An impetuous decision. If you're a careful person who thinks everything through and doesn't act rashly, then you're not very impetuous. Impetuous has to do with doing things on the spur of the moment — and not good things. Being impetuous usually goes along with being impatient and easily angered. If you're impetuous, you act quickly and thoughtlessly when you should just take a deep breath, relax, and think about the best thing to do.
tough cookie: someone who is strong enough to deal with difficult or violent situations. E.g. The head teacher was a tough cookie and I could never get away with anything with her.
set in his ways: unlikely to change her habits or opinions. E.g. I’ve been on my own a long time and I’m rather set in my ways.
Obstinate: /ˈɒbstɪnət/ (often disapproving) refusing to change your opinions, way of behaving, etc. when other people try to persuade you to; behaviour that shows this. Stubborn. E.g. He can be very obstinate when he wants to be! Her obstinate determination to pursue a career in radio.
busybody: someone who is too interested in other people’s private activities. E.g. others considered him an interfering busybody.
Inquisitive: /ɪnˈkwɪzətɪv/ 1 (disapproving) asking too many questions and trying to find out about what other people are doing, etc. Curious. E.g. Don't be so inquisitive. It's none of your business! I didn’t like to seem inquisitive 2. very interested in learning about many different things. E.g. He has an an inquisitive mind. His poems reveal an intensely inquisitive mind. An intelligent and inquisitive young man.
detail-obsessed nit-pickers: people who argue about small, unimportant details.
nit-picker: someone who finds small mistakes in somebody's work or pays too much attention to small details that are not important. E.g. The nit-pickers usually begin with 'Look, this is fine,' followed by that one word – '
Nitpicking is the act of removing nits (the eggs of lice, generally head lice) from the hair.
Domineering: trying to control other people without considering their opinions or feelings. Sp. Dominante. E.g. a cold and domineering father. A domineering manner.
wet blanket: a person who is not enthusiastic about anything and who stops other people from enjoying themselves. E.g. don’t be a wet blanket.
infuriating: /ɪnˈfjʊərieɪtɪŋ/ making you extremely angry. E.g. It is infuriating to talk to someone who just looks out of the window.
a big cheese: (informal, humorous) an important and powerful person, especially in an organization. E.g he was a really big cheese in the business world.
come across (as sth): To appear to be a particular type of person (even if you are not). E.g. She came across as quite a shy person when we met her, but apparently she's not like that at all.
courteous: /ˈkɜːtiəs/ If you act and speak in a way that is helpful and thoughtful towards other people. Polite.
self-reliant: If you can do things yourself and do not want or need help. Independent. E.g a self-reliant little girl.
a loose cannon: a person, usually a public figure, who often behaves in a way that nobody can predict. E.g. most of the cop heroes in contemporary films are loners and loose cannons.
Other useful words and expressions:
quirky: slightly strange. Peculiar. E.g. a quirky sense of humour. the film is very quirky. He is somewhat quirky.
stick to your guns: (informal) to refuse to change your mind about something even when other people are trying to persuade you that you are wrong. E.g. At the meeting Carla stuck to her guns in spite of the fact that everybody was against her. They tried to persuade me, but I stuck to my guns.