Today I have an interesting story for all you language learners out there. It’s basically about the benefits of having an imaginary friend! Sounds creepy and not helpful at all? Keep on reading then. Maybe I can convince you of the contrary.
A few years ago, I went to a German school for higher education. There, we had to do a presentation about ourselves once in German class. We heard about a lot of personal stuff, different career paths, plans for the future, how they spent their free time, yada yada yada…
One day it was this guy’s turn. I didn’t know much about him. I just knew he went to Australia for a few months and that his English skills are incredibly good. Like all the others before, he started talking about his life in general, where he used to work and what he wants to do after he took his A-levels.
But then, the presentation started to get really interesting…
…as soon as he introduced us to his “imaginary friend”. I can’t remember his friend’s name, maybe it was Sam or something along those lines. I don’t know. Let’s stick with Sam for a while.
Sam is my former classmate’s “car-conversation-and-discussion-buddy”. When he talked about Sam, everyone in class started laughing. I laughed myself. Firstly, because this guy just knew how to talk in front of people in an entertaining way, but primarily because I recognized myself in his story.
So he introduced us to Sam and explained that he has long conversations in English with him while he’s driving wherever he needs to go that day. He explained that he would choose a certain topic and discuss it with his friend. If there are any words he just couldn’t remember or simply didn’t know, he looks them up later and adds them to his study list.
I realized that I’m not alone
While others were still laughing, not being able to understand how you can possibly do such a “strange thing”, I understood that I’m not the only crazy person out there. He’s also doing it! And it seems to work perfectly.
Not to brag, we were in fact the best in our English class back then and I started to understand why it is that way. We are simply used to using the language daily, to work with it, to hear and read it in any situation possible. And even if you make mistakes, you either don’t care or learn from them. Because the worst thing is, to worry too much and never talk at all. So, this method is really beneficial for any language learner out there. Just try it once:
- Choose a subject and discuss it with your “imaginary friend”
- Think about pro’s and con’s, make lists, try to express your view on a certain topic
- Look up words you didn’t know, but would have been helpful in your conversation
- Add these words to your study list
- Speak loudly and try to improve your pronunciation
Now you could say:
“But Sabrina, I have REAL friends I can talk to. Even in the language I’m learning… I can just go and talk to them. I don’t need a creepy imaginary friend.”
And you are sooo right with that. Do it! Go to them, talk and have fun! Drink a cup of coffee and discuss things you care about.
But remember, whenever they don’t have time for you and you’re all on your own, don’t let it slide. Use your hard-earned language skills and improve them on your own! You can do it. It’s not creepy at all!