The Love Island couples might feel like their relationships are getting pretty serious – some have been together almost eight weeks now – but until last night they still faced the ultimate milestone in a new union: meeting the parents.
On Sunday night producers arranged for family members to pay a visit to the villa (apart from Danny Dyer who spoke to daughter Dani and boyfriend Jack via video call) to give their children’s partners some feedback.
While some were supportive – the EastEnder’s actor said he “loved” his daughter’s choice and he was a “proper geezer”– others like Alexandra Cane’s mum, Janice, who said she “could kill” former love interest doctor Alex.
So (apart from not dumping people’s children on national television) how do you ensure you don’t completely ruin your first meeting with the potential in-laws? HuffPost UK spoke to other people who had terrible first meetings, and asked, what’s the magic formula.
Jen Lewis accidentally embarrassed herself by getting too familiar before she knew who she was talking too. “In conversation with my first boyfriend’s mum when I was about sixteen, weirdly we were talking about Enid Blyton. I said that Enid is a stupid name (no idea why),” she recalls. “Found out about three weeks later it was her name...”
If that isn’t cringy enough, spare a thought for Aaron* who got to meet the parents a long time before he had anticipated: “Well the first issue was that we weren’t even a couple when I first met his parents. The second issue is that I met them because I was coming down their staircase to leave the house and bumped into them (they weren’t meant to be there... but to be fair neither was I).
“Needless to say when it ended up being more than a one-night relationship, we had a proper first meeting (and I was wearing a more appropriate outfit).”
While, Emily Isa Baker got caught with a little dutch courage in her handbag “We went going out for dinner and I was nervous so had a baby bottle of wine,” she left the bottle in her bag. “An hour later my boyfriend’s brother pulled out the empty bottle and went ‘were you nervous?!’”
So how do you ensure that you don’t make a complete fool of yourself?
How To Make A Good First Impression
Relationships psychologist, author and Relate ambassador Anjula Mutanda previously told HuffPost UK said you should brief your partner before on what family members are like and what to expect when you meet them (ie. are they likely to go in for a hug).
“It’s important to give your family a full run-down on your partner too, letting them know about what they are comfortable and uncomfortable with,” said Mutanda. “Steer clear of hot button issues - like Trump - and determine beforehand whether you want to talk about things like politics.”
We know you might be nervous but resist the temptation to have a few too many drinks, Mutanda says, in her experience, it’s best to avoid getting drunk as alcohol will inevitably loosen the tongue and you’re 98% certain to say something you’ll regret.
Relate counsellor Rachel Davies says you shouldn’t be worried if you don’t bond straight away. “You might want to develop a strong bond with your partner’s mum, but you can’t rush these relationships. It will most likely take time to get to know their family and build a strong connection.”