Views #1215 | Intermediate (B1)

A Few Bad Habits

Mike talks with Erina about some of his bad habits and why he does them and if he can change.

Erina: So Mike, do you have any bad habits?

Mike: Of course not. I'm perfect, I've no habits that are bad. Yes, I do have some bad habits. One of my bad habits is fidgeting and I think I'm a very high energy person so, especially when I'm on the phone, mixed with my slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies, I tend to arrange all the things on a desk so if there are pens and books and different things on the desk, I would be turning them and arranging them in order and pretty much always using my hands and keeping them busy and although this might not be such a bad habit, perhaps for people who are with me or next to me they might be a little bit uncomfortable because it seems like, you know, I'm a bit nervous or, you know, have something on my mind so...

Erina: Not in confidence for your speech, yeah.

Mike: Right, in fact that's not the case but what happens is I start playing with things.

Erina: I've seen you do that before.

Mike: Oh have you?

Erina: Yeah.

Mike: Well then I guess that really shows it is one of my bad habits. You know, I think that I do that to focus because, you know, while I'm speaking to somebody or while I'm on the phone, I arrange things on the desk and that is kind of metaphorically me arranging my thoughts in my head which is probably where this habit has come from.

Erina: I see. Yeah, do you have any other bad habits other than fidgeting?

Mike: Well maybe a bad habit is driving quickly and I'm not sure if that's considered a bad habit but I guess when I get behind the wheel of a car I sometimes get impatient and that impatience drives me to put more weight on the gas pedal and in turn I go faster and of course speeding is not a good thing especially when you get pulled over by the police. So that's a bad habit that I might have to work on.

Erina: Yeah, definitely. You don't want to lose your licence.

Mike: No.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

obsessive compulsive


I have slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies.

'Obsessive compulsive' tendencies are things you do very frequently without even thinking about it. For example, some people are obsessive compulsive about moisturizing their hands. Notice the following:

  1. I am very obsessive compulsive about my morning routine.
  2. She is very obsessive compulsive about the cleanliness of her house.



I metaphorically arrange things in my head.

You do something 'metaphorically' when one action is symbolic of another action. Here, it is impossible for Nathan to physically arrange thoughts in his head, but by organizing physical things, he feels more organized mentally. Notice the following:

  1. Watching stupid television shows like this is like metaphorical junk food for my brain.
  2. This week has been like running a metaphorical marathon.



When I get behind the wheel of a car I sometimes get impatient.

When you are 'impatient' about something, you don't want to wait or have patience about it. If you are impatient, you want things to happen faster. Notice the following:

  1. Stop being so impatient about this situation. There is nothing you can do besides wait.
  2. I am very impatient about waiting for people to return my calls.

in turn


I put more weight on the gas pedal and in turn I go faster.

'In turn' is similar in meaning to 'as a result.' Notice the following:

  1. He is usually happy, and in turn makes the people around him happy too.
  2. I had a late start to the day, and in turn I felt like I was rushing to try to catch up all day.

lose your license


You don't want to lose your license.

You 'lose your license' when you do something terrible and irresponsible when you are driving and the police officer tells you that you have lost your driving privileges. Notice the following:

  1. His eyesight got so bad when he got old that he lost his license.
  2. He lost his license the third time he got caught driving drunk.

Vocabulary Quiz

compulsive • metaphorical • impatient
in turn • lost
  1. I think you need a vacation from your problems.
  2. He can get very when people do things more slowly than he wants.
  3. You should go to bed earlier, and you will wake up earlier.
  4. When he got into three accidents in the same year, he his license.
  5. He is sort of obsessive about having a big breakfast on the  weekend.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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