Dear Mary

Dear Mary: What do I say when people want to visit my family’s stately home for free?

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I were among the first to arrive at a recent large house party in Scotland. We…

How should you deal with a competitive best friend?

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Q. Good friends, who moved away from our city suburb a couple of years ago, retain a pied-à-terre the better…

Dear Mary: Help! My husband won’t wash his hands after going to the loo

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Q. My husband doesn’t wash his hands after spending a penny and he doesn’t wash his hands after ‘spending tuppence’,…

Dear Mary: How can we make an ungrateful relative acknowledge a £500 cheque?

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Q. My wife’s much younger sister is lazy and impossible. She forgets birthdays, is invariably late, lets people down and…

Dear Mary: My friend always has food around his mouth. How can I help him?

21 July 2018 9:00 am

Q. A dear friend of my husband, a shy bachelor, is an acquired taste. Once you acquire it you are…

Dear Mary: How do you deal with a monologuing fellow guest on board a yacht?

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Q. A long-standing friend has an admirer of some means. He has invited her to borrow his fully staffed and…

Dear Mary: How does a Wimbledon ball girl deal with a disgusting player?

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Q. I’ve accepted an invitation to stay in a small house party in France. My host hasn’t mentioned who else…

Dear Mary: How can I stop a controversial columnist from being sacked?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Q. A close friend is an elderly writer who has contributed, as a monthly columnist, to the same publication for…

Dear Mary: I’m a freelancer – how do I get people to return my calls?

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Q. Being professionals in trade, we find ourselves increasingly being asked by friends, who could well afford to use our…

Dear Mary: What is the correct form when you find someone hiding from you in a cupboard?

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Q. Is there a tactful way to ask people with whom you’ve been interacting on an almost daily basis over…

How to lay a trap for a suspected nosy parker

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Q. My father has worked pro bono for many years on the advisory board of a certain company with a…

Dear Mary: Is it vulgar to give money as a wedding gift?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Q. I work at a desk by a window which looks out on to the street where I live. I…

Dear Mary: As best man, can I seduce the groom’s sister?

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. We often take friends to what my husband calls a ‘poncey’ pub which has won numerous awards and where…

Dear Mary: How can I explain the cushion I must take everywhere to sit on?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. I have incurable, inoperable back pain that severely hinders my ability to sit and necessitates my taking a cushion…

Dear Mary: How can I pin down flakey party-goers?

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. My 50th birthday is looming and I am hosting a small dinner in a restaurant. This has proved challenging…

Dear Mary: A work colleague has a brain tumour — and his self pity is annoying me

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. When buying a present for a friend, I would not dream of glugging from the bottle or helping myself…

Dear Mary: My new boyfriend is too short. Can I make him wear shoe lifts?

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Q. An acquaintance, whom I admire but don’t know well, sent me a ‘begging’ letter to donate to a charity…

Dear Mary: At a smart dinner party, is it wrong to ask for the wifi code?

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I are excited to have been invited to dinner by our most important neighbour. However our…

Dear Mary: our son’s future in-laws want to play social oneupmanship with us

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Q. We were about to send off to the printers the invitation for our son’s wedding (we agreed to do…

Dear Mary: How do we deal with our host’s sudden, terrifying rages?

7 April 2018 9:00 am

Q. Along with five of my favourite people, I’ve been invited again to what should be an idyllic house party…

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…