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TOEFL: the ability to maintain friendships with old friends vs. the ability to make new friends?


natasha_139 2  
Aug 6, 2018   #1
Hi everyone, here's my essay. Thanks a lot for your help!

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
The ability to maintain friendships with a small number of people over a long period of time is more important for happiness than the ability to make many new friends easily.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.


better old and trusted friends - it's worth to stay close



Friendship does not come into being naturally. Instead, it demands time and effort and even skills to cultivate and maintain if you expect there is someone to rely on or you always have someone to talk to in an unfamiliar environment. Some argue that the ability to keep friendship holds more importance to one's happiness than the ability to start befriending with strangers easily. Considering different roles old friends and new friends play in our life, I tend to believe both of these abilities are contributory factors to a happy life.

On the one hand, a few friends you have known for a long time are more likely to ensure the feeling of security, leading to a satisfactory life everyday. In our professional life, it is not uncommon we would encounter a series of moments when we feel frustrated about, namely, criticisms from our supervisors or office politics. Under those situations, the first thing we all want to do is call our closest friends out, have a talk to vent our anger and even cry over their shoulders, especially when we are far away from our hometown seeking for fortune in metropolis(metropolises). Anyone, no matter how high level his or her position is in one company, should have a small number of these friends, otherwise, we would easily get depressed. Unlike new friends, these bunch of friends are the ones we would always trust and feel secure to share. Therefore, it is evident that the ability to maintain friendship with our old friends means a lot to happiness.

On the other hand, being able to make new friends easily is also important because new friends serve as refreshing elements in having a happy life. Hanging out with old friends is the time to catch up on with each other while knowing new friends is more like exploring an unknown place. Striking up conversation with strangers is an opportunity for us to step out of our comfort zone and to be exposed to unfamiliar environment full of surprises, which would definitely enrich our life. Only keeping the same group of friends is just like having the same dish everyday, which is, doubtlessly, very boring. New friends are like the new dishes you have never tried, serving to counteract the boredom in your life. For example, I usually would take part in one activity at the weekends. Everytime I exchange my contact information and social networking accounts with anyone I do not know I feel rather excited, because that means I may come across something new and curious. Like last Sunday, I just met a girl who managed to travel around the world while doing well in her job. Having talked with her, I learned so much that I could not know from books or any of my old friends. Her experience opens the door to a new world for me.

In sum, for a happy life, I think we should both have the ability to keep friendship with old friends and have the ability to make new friends easily.

Holt [Contributor] 1595  
Aug 7, 2018   #2
Hi Natasha, the question offers you the option to choose one of two responses. You either write a response that agrees with the argument presented or you write an essay that disagrees with the statement. You cannot write an essay that balances a "maybe" response because there is no "maybe" option in the essay. You cannot agree partially with both sides. That is not part of the equation. Choose only one of the two responses with which you develop your response. The reason that you need to pick one side of essay to respond to is because you are given the choice of "OR" in the statement.

This essay, due to your lack of decision making in response to the question will most likely be considered a level 2 piece of writing. The reason for this is that you are using inappropriate explanations to support your response to the task.

Don't get me wrong, this is an acceptable essay in terms of how you wrote it. The only problem, is that you did not appropriately respond to the task with a solid and convincing line of reasoning. You chose to not make a decision instead, which was the reason that your scoring was affected. When given a choice, make a decision. Pick one side to defend and stick to it in your reasoning presentation :-)


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