Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How to get out of a neighbours’ dinner party invite?

31 March 2018 9:00 am

Q. A couple who live directly opposite us in London have sent a save-the-date notice for a big party they…

Dear Mary: How can I tell a friend her mole is disgusting?

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Q. Recently, during a stay in a luxurious mountain hotel in Italy, and having hurt my knee skiing, I was…

How can I avoid power handshakes? They hurt my fragile knuckles

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Q. How does one avoid power handshakes? Twenty-five years of wicket-keeping have left me with pathetically fragile knuckles, and each…

Dear Mary: My daughter’s new boyfriend isn’t on Facebook – how do I snoop?

10 March 2018 9:00 am

Q. Recently I held a party at which some people were meeting each other for the first time. One social-climbing…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my landlords they’ve ruined my life?

3 March 2018 9:00 am

Q. For some time I have been spoiled by paying a small rent for a central flat belonging to absentee…

Dear Mary: how can we dissuade friends from visiting when one of us is ill?

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. Obviously one is delighted to have visits from close friends and family when one’s spouse is ailing, but how…

Dear Mary: How can we get our star friend along to dinner when he’s so busy?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. We want to invite a rather exceptional friend to dinner. He lives nearby but he has a top job…

Dear Mary: What do you do when your secretary accuses you of not making a pass?

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. I am at the age where parts of the body start to go wrong, and I have a minor…

Dear Mary: I keep needing the loo during formal dinner parties – help!

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I have been invited to a small but formal dinner in the presence of some impressive…

Dear Mary: how do you deal with a daughter who has gone vegan to get attention?

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. Several friends have reached an age and wealth that means they take unreasonably long holidays or even entire gap…

Mary solves your problems: How can I get over my smartphone separation anxiety?

20 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. I will be 80 in March and all my friends will expect to be asked to the celebration. My…

Mary solves your problem: Is it cultural appropriation for an English person to attend a Burns supper?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. Should the lady or the gentleman have the banquette in a restaurant? I’ve been brought up to believe that…

Mary solves your problems: A secret school scrapbook discovered by the housemaster

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. At my son’s school the boys keep a clandestine leatherbound book known as ‘The Bible’, a sort of Rogues…

Dear Mary solves problems for Vince Cable, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lord Archer and Ruth Davidson

16 December 2017 9:00 am

From Sir Vince Cable MP Q. I have an unfulfilled ambition to win a national title for ballroom dancing in…

Mary solves your problems: What do you say when a screaming child is ruining your lunch?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I were having lunch in our local bistro. A boy of about two was wandering around…

Mary solves your problems: what’s the right response to a request for no presents?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have reached the age when we are receiving invitations from our friends for Golden Wedding celebrations. All the…

Mary answers your problems: The tactful way to get rid of a drunk guest

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. I was recently at an informal dinner given by two dear friends, but returned home seething with rage against…

Mary solves your problems: My husband’s started working from home – and he’s driving me crazy

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. My husband, who used to be away on business most of the time, now works from home and has…

Mary solves your problems: A family friend stays over all the time – but never actually asks us out

11 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have a family friend we don’t see nearly as much as we’d like. This is because he’s so…

Mary answers your problems: How can I stop guests from showing up early?

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. Twice in one week I have been found unready for my guests. Occasion one: in the garden, finishing my…

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of visiting a friend in hospital?

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette of hospital visiting? A friend in his fifties is about to spend six weeks in…

Mary solves your problems: A friend lent me a treasured keepsake – now they have the gall to ask for it back

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A newish friend who has very good manners lent me a DVD of his grandfather at the Olympics. I…

Dear Mary: the TV mogul whose floral offering did not cut the mustard

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A well-known television mogul,whom I had met only once, came to dinner at my house. I was on good…

Mary solves your problems: How can we avoid eating poisoned mushrooms foraged by a friend?

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have moved from London into a rural area where we are preparing for the first visit of a…

Dear Mary: am I in danger of being seen as an ‘Instagram creeper’?

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. How can I avoid becoming seen as an ‘Instagram creeper’? My well-meaning niece tells me that I’m in danger…