Modern manners

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…

This dieting nonsense is hard to swallow

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Eat good fresh food and ignore health bloggers and nutrition gurus

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…

How to make the most of the social opportunities of the polling station

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am a member of a well-known country house opera society, and I organise annual trips to performances for…

No need for excuses with party bores... it’s your duty to circulate

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. Re getting away from bores at drinks parties (Dear Mary, 20 May). I take issue with the idea that…

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’