Etiquette

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…

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…

Mary solves your problems: Should I tell the hostess if I see a rat on her patio?

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. My partner and I recently had two close friends — one a Peer, the other a former Member of the…

Mary answers your problems: is it acceptable to serve a puff pastry circle on a steak pie?

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Some rather flashy new neighbours of ours — I won’t mention their names as his will be familiar to…

Mary solves your problems: We forgot our guests’ names and couldn’t introduce them

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am in my seventies and my husband is in his nineties. The other night we had two couples…

Let’s put down the cameraphones and start living

5 August 2017 9:00 am

It’s time to put down the cameras and start living

Lots of my friends are turning 40 – how do I cope with the boring, drunken birthday dinners?

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I’m shortly to host a very large family gathering. Everyone will be related to the same ancestor, so we…

Dear Mary: what’s the etiquette when security gates don’t just open?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. Is there an etiquette regarding security gates? My wife and I were invited to dinner by new neighbours who…

Dear Mary: our friend’s new wife is a horror show. How can we avoid her?

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. ‘Alfred’ is a friend of 30 years’ standing who has just married for the first time. Alfred retains all…

How can I get the buyer of a supermarket to notice my products?

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. I import a range of very high-quality food products from Europe into the UK. They are regarded as the…

My husband keeps pointing out birds in our garden but I can’t see them

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. Having retired, my husband is now an enthusiastic observer of the goldfinches, greenfinches and bullfinches in our garden. Their…

Dear Mary: how do you excuse yourself from a dull conversation?

20 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. My mother always told me that only boring people are bored. However she never got stuck at a drinks…

How do you reject someone but still spare their feelings?

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Q. May I pass on a tip to readers wishing to reject a hopeful romantic partner without hurting their feelings?…

Do you know a flake fatale?

15 April 2017 9:00 am

No shows. Repeat cancellations. And all excused by ‘flakiness’

Does a gentleman raise his hat once or twice to a lesbian couple?

15 April 2017 9:00 am

Q. My aunt lives in a small market town with narrow roads and limited parking. A neighbour opposite acquired a…

What can be done about flakes who cancel at the last minute?

8 April 2017 9:00 am

A friend of a friend hosted an engagement party in a London hotel. Invitations had gone out six weeks beforehand,…

Dear Mary: Am I obliged to regale my sponsor with anecdotes from my life?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Q. As an artist I’m indebted to my sponsor. I also like him, but not his habit of ringing me…

Dear Mary: How to coax a thank-you letter from your guests

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Q. We had some people up from London for a very long weekend. We put on an extra-special do, costing…

Dear Mary: how can a dear friend be enjoined to plan his visits ahead?

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Q. Living in a large house in the country within striking distance of a motorway, we get a lot of…

Dear Mary: my friends’ annoying habit when referring to their toddlers

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Q. Most of my friends have small children and being mostly media types in west London, have given them silly…

Dear Mary: How to deal with a ‘recycling fascist’

4 March 2017 9:00 am

My partner has become a recycling fascist. She checks everything I put into the bin. I received two bollockings today alone…

Dear Mary: How to make your 15-year-old daughter behave

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Q. I’ve listened to the radio to deal with insomnia for years (Dear Mary, 18 February) and your suggestion of…

How to throw a singles party on St Valentine’s night

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Q. A (very attractive) man I knew at university invited me to a party given by him and his girlfriend.…