Etiquette

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: 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…

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: 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 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: 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 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…