Modern manners

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…

Over-protective parents are making kids miserable – and fat

28 October 2017 9:00 am

We think we are protecting children but we are harming them

If you don't let children take risks, you are damaging them

28 October 2017 9:00 am

A bit of risk is good for the young

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…

Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Matt Ridley’s fine recent Times column was hardly the first to raise the alarm about the pseudo-Soviet intolerance of the…

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…

How can I have a fuss made of me on my 40th, without people knowing I’m 40?

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Last year my husband and I stayed with a much-loved, but slightly airy-fairy friend in her house in Tuscany.…

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…

Snobbery in the age of social media

12 August 2017 9:00 am

We like to think we have moved on from the age of snobbery. Judging others by birth or status, or…

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

Why must I have a strong opinion about everything?

29 July 2017 9:00 am

At a party earlier this summer, I was chatting to a man who asked me how I voted in last…

How can I stop my children renting out their flats and coming to stay?

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. My children are very lucky in that we have bought them all flats. However, they are now renting out…

I survived a hen party — just

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The hen party was seated at an outside restaurant table under the plane trees when I arrived. They sat with…

Is this Britain’s bossiest village?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

‘What do you think it means?’ I asked the builder boyfriend as we stood in front of the sign. A…

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…

Being anti-smoking damages your mental health

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I lit a cigarette in an open-air car park a couple of years ago as I was walking to the…

Why I can’t embrace the man-hug

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The regrettable rise of the male embrace

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…