Modern manners

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…

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…