Dear Mary

Dear Mary: how can I stop my dad treating my mum like a slave?

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Q. Dad takes an old-fashioned approach to marriage: I have never seen him clear his plate and he does not…

Dear Mary: Is my brother being gaslighted by his boss?

2 November 2019 9:00 am

Q. My brilliant brother, who graduated last year, could find nowhere to live in London so we were all delighted…

Dear Mary: Do I have a moral duty to allow Brexit chat at supper parties?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

Q. I’ve been having friends to supper for many decades. Although I say it myself, these gatherings have often been…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my neighbour making weird noises when he exercises in the garden?

19 October 2019 9:00 am

Q. I sing soprano in a small church choir, ten to 12 singers. The woman I am placed next to…

Dear Mary: How can I tell a man at yoga class to cover up?

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Q. My sister runs a yoga school and a middle-aged gentleman has joined. Although she is delighted to encourage male…

Dear Mary: How do I cope with university flatmates who can’t cook?

5 October 2019 9:00 am

Q. For many years I employed around 60 people with whom I worked in an open-plan office. I moved on from…

Dear Mary: Is it OK for a couple to ask us to contribute to their savings as a wedding gift?

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Q. Every three months or so my PA blossoms into a great beauty for a couple of weeks, then has…

Dear Mary: Can I ask my vegan friend to buy eggs and bacon when I stay with her?

21 September 2019 9:00 am

Q. The other day a dear friend rang from her car with all the time in the world to burn…

Dear Mary: How do we explain being in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book?

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Q. We often have friends coming to stay before (and after) we all head off for Glyndebourne, a 20-minute drive…

Dear Mary: How much should I tip a black cab driver?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Q. We have near neighbours in the country with whom I would not wish to fall out for all sorts…

Dear Mary: What do you do when your hostess licks your spoon?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. I have happily overcome many moments of diplomatic and social challenge, but was stumped by the case of the…

Dear Mary: How can my son tell if his cleaner is stealing from him?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. What is your view on emailed vs handwritten thank-yous? During my recent travels around pre-Brexit Europe I stayed in…

Dear Mary: How can I politely turn down friends’ sponsorship requests?

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. I want my guests to feel welcome when they stay with us and certainly don’t want to nag them.…

Dear Mary: How can I deal with overly demonstrative colleagues?

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. A friend constantly walks around with his bootlaces undone. His wife declines to nag him on the grounds she…

Wind chimes

Dear Mary: What can I do about the vexatious racket of windchimes?

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. I took an old friend to Bellamy’s for lunch. We were just settling in for a proper gossip when…

Boris Johnson in The Spectator’s editor’s chair in 2003 (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

Dear Mary: I used to work with Boris Johnson. Why does no one believe how fun he was?

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Q. It was 10 p.m. by the time the canapés appeared and by then it was already too late. The…

Dear Mary: How should one react when someone invites you to an expensive restaurant — then lets you pay the bill?

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Q. Further to your advice about how to refuse invitations, I had a friend, who sadly died young, who disliked…

Dear Mary: How do I stop men sending me articles from the Guardian?

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Q. It is difficult to know what to do when homeless people ask you for cash as you are leaving…

Dear Mary: How should I deal with a friend who leaves appalling comments on Facebook?

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Q. Friends and I keep in touch and share our more memorable experiences on Facebook. One friend is an elderly…

Dear Mary: How do I handle the dreaded ‘B word’ at supper parties?

29 June 2019 9:00 am

Q. I have lost many friends and acquaintances by discussing Brexit and finding fundamental differences of opinion. Recently I have…

Dear Mary: How can I stop the book club gossip from snooping around my house?

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Q. One of the members of our book club is particularly nosy and gossipy. I like this woman, but when…

Dear Mary: Is it ever acceptable to blow my own trumpet?

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Q. A friend of 30 years moved abroad three years ago. He then was diagnosed with throat cancer but mercifully…

Dear Mary: How do I stop people cadging cigarettes off me?

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Q. My mother died a few months ago. Her collection of colourful clothes, hats, shoes and an immense amount of…

Dear Mary: I won a bet – how do I make my friend pay up?

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Q. A delightful but disorganised friend has invited several of our circle for a weekend at his family’s beautiful country…

Dear Mary: What should I do when my host won’t serve the champagne I brought?

25 May 2019 9:00 am

Q. Was I right to feel aggrieved when, having contributed a bottle of fine champagne to a small supper party,…