Q. Re getting away from bores at drinks parties (Dear Mary, 20 May). I take issue with the idea that you even need to give an excuse. I usually just say: ‘Great to see you but I suppose you and I had better circulate now.’
— E.G., Wiltshire
A. You are quite right. After all, your host would be furious if you got ‘stuck’ and monopolised the most interesting person in the room, for example Elon Musk. It is a guest’s duty to circulate and I will U-turn on last week’s edict.
Q. My son’s godfather rang him in winter after forgetting his 21st. He asked for his postcode in Bristol (where my son was then at university) so he could send a gift. My son has now left uni and tells me that nothing arrived. His godfather, an MP, is very reliable. Should he tell him nothing came, as he might be thinking my son is rude not to have thanked him?
— Name and address withheld
A. MPs’ secretaries are usually super-diplomatic so your son should ring up his godfather’s secretary about this predicament. He or she will understand that he is not being pushy and, since the secretary is likely to have been the one to have packed and despatched the present (maybe even to have chosen it) some light may be shed on the matter. Otherwise the secretary can sidestep embarrassment by asking the MP: ‘Do you have any good ideas for a gift for a godson’s 21st? Have you given one recently?’
Q. I would like to come to the rescue of the nail technician at our local beauty salon. She is a sweet and fastidious girl but she has recently had a flare-up of a stress-related illness because of bullying by a client to whom she pays home visits. The other client’s nails have been damaged by a treatment she had abroad but she is blaming my timid little friend for it. My friend would like to stop doing these home visits but is too frightened by the idea that the client may report her for malpractice. What do you advise?
— H.F., Nottinghamshire
A. The timid girl should text the bully to say she’s been appointed regional inspector of nail technicians. She is no longer performing treatments herself but instead inspecting the work of others. As a consequence she will be carrying out no further home visits.
Q. I will shortly be going for lots of job interviews for similar posts with different companies. In my world (media) people are always running late — so how can I tell one potential employer ‘I’ve got to go now because I’m going for another interview with one of your rivals?’
— Name and address withheld
A. Encourage the potential boss to run to schedule by emailing on the morning to announce that you’re looking forward to the interview but will have to leave by a certain time for a dental appointment.
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