Difference between Past Simple and Past Continuous for a past action

Should the gaps in this sentence be filled with verbs in Past Simple or Past Continuous tense?

_______________ you ___________________ (make) a lot of friends when you ________________ (live) abroad?


Recommended ways of writing this:

“Did you make a lot of friends when you lived abroad?”

“Have you made a lot of friends while living abroad?” (Present perfect — suggests that you may still be living abroad, or at least close temporal proximity to this time.)

“Had you made a lot of friends while living abroad, before coming home?”

I find that is reads awkwardly when you use the past perfect without it being clear that it’s entirely enclosed within the past. I felt compelled to add the clarification to the last example for it to read comfortably. I would advise avoiding it when there are alternatives, such as the versions above.

Source : Link , Question Author : Learner , Answer Author : Cole Johnston

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