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Relationship idioms

English idioms that describe relationships.

Positive

get on like a house on fire = to get on really well with someone: "They get on like a house on fire."

have a soft spot for someone = to be very fond of someone: "She has a soft spot for her youngest child."

go back a long way = to know someone well for a long time: "Those two go back a long way. They were at primary school together."

be in with = to have favoured status with someone: "She's in with the management."

Negative

get off on the wrong foot with someone = to start off badly with someone: "She really got off on the wrong foot with her new boss."

keep someone at arm's length = to keep someone at a distance: "I'm keeping her at arm's length for the time being."

they're like cat and dog = to often argue with someone: "Those two are like cat and dog."

rub someone up the wrong way = to irritate someone: "She really rubs her sister up the wrong way."

be at loggerheads = to disagree strongly: "Charles and Henry are at loggerheads over the new policy."

sworn enemies = to hate someone: "Those two are sworn enemies."

Equality and inequality

bend over backwards for someone = do everything possible to help someone: "She bent over backwards for them when they first arrived in the town."

be at someone's beck and call = to always be ready to do what someone wants: "As the office junior, she was at his beck and call all day."

pull your weight = to do the right amount of work: "The kids always pull their weight around the house."

do your fair share = to do your share of the work: "He never does his fair share!"

take someone under your wing = to look after someone until they settle in: "He took her under his wing for her first month at work."

keep tabs on someone = to watch someone carefully to check what they are doing: "He's keeping tabs on the sales team at the moment."

wear the trousers = to be in control: "She wears the trousers in their relationship."

be under the thumb = to be controlled by someone else: "He really keeps her under the thumb."

How you communicate

get your wires crossed =to misunderstand someone because you think they are talking about something else: "I think I've got my wires crossed. Were you talking about car or personal insurance?"

get the wrong end of the stick = to misunderstand someone and understand the opposite of what they are saying: "You've got the wrong end of the stick. The fault was with the other driver, not with me."

be left in the dark = to be left without enough information: "We've been left in the dark over this project. We haven't been told how to do it."

talk at cross purposes = when two people don't understand each other because they are talking about two different things (but don't realise it): "We're talking at cross purposes here."

go round in circles = to say the same things over and again, so never resolving a problem: "We always end up going round in circles in these meetings."

leave things up in the air = to leave something undecided: "I hate leaving things up in the air."




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2 comments

khoa than
Very interesting. Thank you.
Sereyvuth Om
Look very interesting!

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