Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do we stop friends dropping by without calling?

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. Some years ago, much to the surprise of our many friends in London, my husband and I moved to…

Dear Mary: how do I alert my neighbour to my generosity?

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. We went for lunch over the bank holiday with the parents of one of my son’s schoolfriends. We had…

Dear Mary: How do I get back the book I lent to a friend?

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. As a publisher, I have been fortunate to discover an unpublished writer who is the author of some truly…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my father’s girlfriend boiling a full kettle for one cup of tea?

23 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. Financially successful friends have kindly invited my husband and me to stay for a week in France. Our problem…

Dear Mary: How do you stop a cat from sneaking next door?

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. A great friend is in a terrible state regarding a cat foisted on her by a close relation. She…

Dear Mary: How do I convince my brother to go to a fancy dress party?

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. My brother’s social life has dried up since his divorce (which coincided with the pandemic). So when he received…

Dear Mary: How do I deal with my book club’s dietary requirements?

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. I live in the Hampshire countryside, in a lovely apartment where I have the use of an old walled…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my husband spying on me?

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. My husband has developed an irksome habit whenever he goes abroad without me. We have cameras outside the house…

Dear Mary: how can I avoid splitting the bill?

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. These days I am on a tight budget while many of my friends are still able to spend freely.…

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of tipping takeaway delivery drivers?

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Rory Sutherland recently wrote about high-end takeaways (Wiki Man, 19 February). In the last London lockdown, I was fortunate…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my new friend leaving me broke?

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Recently I started hanging out with a new friend. We are both in our twenties, single, and usually go…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my friends that napkin rings are the height of naff?

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. Three weeks ago I banged my head on the lower branch of our near neighbours’ tree, which I couldn’t…

Dear Mary: How do I tackle the menace of strangers making mobile calls on speakerphone?

19 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. As if it wasn’t bad enough to overhear one side of a conversation as it’s bellowed into a mobile…

Dear Mary: How can we avoid making friends on our cruise?

12 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. My partner’s work involves him seeing and talking to people all day, every day. I booked us on to…

Dear Mary: How do we get out of doing our hosts’ cleaning?

5 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I have made friends with two distinguished, although fairly eccentric, writers whose company we thoroughly enjoy.…

Dear Mary: How can I stop unexpected visitors using my loo?

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. I treat myself to a manicure every ten days. It’s a 30-minute appointment and the girl I use is…

Dear Mary: Do I have to display my friend’s awful painting?

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. A long-standing artist friend, whose work now commands high prices, has sent me out of the blue a present…

Dear Mary: How can I get my cleaner to stop complaining?

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. My cleaner is industrious and trustworthy but she doesn’t have many people to talk to and evidently looks forward…

Dear Mary

8 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. I live alone, happily and remotely, but many miles from my immediate family. My son’s wife has very kindly…

Dear Mary, from Matt Hancock: after an eventful year, how should I get in touch with old friends?

18 December 2021 9:00 am

From Lady Antonia Fraser Q. I enjoy getting readers’ letters, but there is one category I am at a loss…

Dear Mary: should I force dinner guests to take a lateral flow test?

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Q. My mother-in-law has remarried and now lives in South America. She has a large family with nieces, grandchildren, godchildren,…

Dear Mary: How can I stop friends laughing at me for learning another language?

4 December 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have moved into a terraced house in a seaside town. Our joy is confined, however, by the fact…

Dear Mary: how can I get out of a Christmas party?

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. I belong to a fairly intimate private club which is the one reliable oasis of calm and civility that…

Dear Mary: how do I stop guests sitting on my newly plumped sofas?

20 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have recently installed security cameras in our remote holiday house in the south of France and I was…

Dear Mary: how can I learn to cope with my husband’s mess?

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. My husband has fallen in love with ‘the country’ and retired to Exmoor while I maintain a presence in…