Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do I stop people assuming I’m a billionaire?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I have spent many happy weekends in the seaside cottage of long-standing friends. Knowing how much…

Dear Mary: how can I avoid my friend’s awful favourite restaurant?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. Almost a year ago I attended the funeral of my godfather — a bachelor and distant relation whom I…

Dear Mary: How can I get my social skills back after lockdown?

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. I have just been out to my first lunch in months. Ten of us sat around a table in…

Dear Mary: How can we be sure our host gives us clean sheets?

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. Some friends persist on displaying our email addresses in large address lists when sending out round robins to all…

Dear Mary: How can I hide my lockdown weight gain?

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. For professional reasons it is important that I am not fat. However I have put on more than a…

Dear Mary: how do I confront a work colleague who has bad BO?

22 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. My son is having his 30th birthday next weekend and has invited 50 friends to a garden party. We…

Dear Mary: What can I do about fellow passengers who won’t wear face masks?

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. On my way to Devon recently I stopped for lunch with an impeccably mannered friend. He produced first crab…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my neighbours I forgot to feed their cat?

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. We invited two friends to supper in London. As they came in they said they should order their taxi…

Dear Mary: What gift can you buy for the hosts who have everything?

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am not expected to pay rent at the cottage which has been lent to me by a super-kind…

Dear Mary: Where should we seat wedding guests who hold unfashionable views?

25 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. Our daughter is going ahead with her wedding despite the restriction on guest numbers. Although it is a relief…

Dear Mary: How can I help the host at a socially-distant dinner party?

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. As we attend socially distant events, we expect of our hosts a scrupulous accommodation of our preferences around physical…

Dear Mary: How can I leave a boring WhatsApp group without upsetting anyone?

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. During lockdown I have done my level best to assist with household chores. Last week, while my wife was…

Dear Mary: Will my lockdown appearance be too off-putting for the office?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. Just before Covid, we moved out of London with the intention of having a quiet life in the country.…

Dear Mary: How can I stop predatory kisses at social gatherings?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. How can one politely stop predatory kissers? I am (or was) an affectionate and demonstrative person but I don’t…

Dear Mary: How can I accept a party invitation when I don’t know who’s going?

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. I know it is rude to ask, when invited to a dinner party, ‘who else is coming?’ I assumed,…

Dear Mary: How do I greet friends without hugs or handshakes?

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. Now we are instructed to mingle again, I’m sure I’m not alone in being surprised to find an awkwardness…

Dear Mary: is it OK to drop by to see a friend’s garden during the pandemic?

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. I own a small, somewhat shabby and antiquated but well-located flat in central London which I have been happy…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette about watching graphic sex scenes as a family?

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. Please can you tell me the correct etiquette about signing the visitors book after you are married? Obviously you…

Dear Mary: What Zoom background will impress my boss?

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. My goddaughter was getting married in July but due to Covid-19 this has been postponed. I had already chosen…

Dear Mary: Why don’t my neighbours appreciate my 8 p.m. Thursday firework?

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. For me the hallmark of a really close friend is someone with whom you feel comfortable enough to bring…

Dear Mary: What do I say to the neighbour who comments on my daily exercise?

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Q To your correspondent with a guest whose table manners offend (2 May), you suggest screening him off with a…

Dear Mary: How do I handle my lockdown guest’s lack of table manners?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am being driven to distraction by a touchy relation who has responded to the lockdown by WhatsApping me…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my friends spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories?

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Several of my friends and family members have moved on from dark thoughts concerning 9/11, the Kennedy assassination and…

Dear Mary: How do I get out of bossy chain emails?

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Each day while working from home, I have at least one hour-long meeting via Zoom. One of my colleagues…

Dear Mary: How can I self-isolate without people bothering me on Zoom?

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Caught in Switzerland as the ski resort shut down around my ears, and feeling like a walking health hazard,…