Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: how do I stop house guests stealing my phone chargers?


Q. I have been invited (solo, not with my long-term partner) to a wedding next year. The format appears to be: ceremony, drinks reception, then the main wedding party is dining together before we all get back together for an evening celebration. In the hiatus, guests are encouraged to eat in one of the local restaurants – a list is provided. How do I discreetly find out which of my friends might be attending? I texted a friend who I assumed would be invited, only to get ‘NFI’ as a response. I’m now wary of approaching others.

– Name and address withheld

A. It is quite acceptable to go directly to the bride or groom and ask them to identify any of your friends with whom you might arrange to join up during the hiatus. It will remind them other guests may be floundering without a similar steer.

Q. A new colleague has been given a desk directly behind me and spends most of his time on loud conference calls. This would be irritating enough, but he also, constantly and incorrectly, uses reflexive pronouns (e.g. ‘I will give that to yourself’) along with other peculiar business jargon. My colleagues and I find this overly grandiose terminology grating. Mary, to use our new colleague’s own language, how can we ‘solutionise’ this?

– M.C., by email

A. The solution could be to upgrade him to his own private room. If he feels rejection, explain that his style of delivery is so compelling you are finding it difficult to concentrate. If space does not permit, you might dilute the nuisance by wearing your Apple AirPods Pro switched to Active Noise Cancellation mode.

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