Advice

Dear Mary: How should I handle summer invitations when I might get a better offer?

4 June 2022 9:00 am

Q. In order to raise money for a worthwhile cause, I have agreed to open my garden for the first…

Dear Mary: Should house guests pay to charge their electric cars?

28 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. My wife’s father, who she adored, has died and she is to be his sole beneficiary. She intends to…

Dear Mary: How do I dodge my village’s Jubilee tug-of-war contest?

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. I’m 28 and lucky enough to own a four-bed house in Notting Hill. I let three of the rooms…

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 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: 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, 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: How do I politely avoid going to a memorial service?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. I will shortly be attending a major social gathering in London at which I can look forward to seeing…

Dear Mary: How do I get my masseuse to stop talking?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our two daughters often bring friends down for the weekend. These friends are more than welcome; we enjoy their…

Dear Mary: How do I stop a dinner guest double-dipping?

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. During lockdown I made good friends with a neighbour who I would never have met otherwise. This man lives…

Dear Mary: How do I get rid of my terrible cleaner?

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have recently become a widow. Since my son is away at university, I had the idea of charging…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my grey-haired friend giving away my true age?

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. I never lie about my age but I try not to think — or talk — about it. Now…

Dear Mary: How do we get our friends to pay for the carpet they ruined?

4 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have had some rather rich Argentines to stay. No one was able to come in to help before…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my husband repeating himself?

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. A very old friend has rented a holiday house and invited my husband and me to stay. The property…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette of greeting a friend who is engaged in a ceremonial display?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. Passing Buckingham Palace in a taxi the other day, I saw the ceremonial wing of the Household Division prancing…

Dear Mary: How can I stop friends asking to stay in my holiday cottage?

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. My beloved wife has been studying Chinese metaphysics for 18 months. Our house and garden have been badly neglected…

Dear Mary: How do I get my neighbours to tidy their front gardens?

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. I live in a row of town houses with a communal strip of garden in front. Three of the…

Dear Mary: When is it acceptable to make a French exit?

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. The other night, while hosting a house party, I was one of only three people still chatting by the…

Dear Mary: Has lockdown de-civilised my husband?

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Q. Last night I went to dinner with people I had never met before. Because the host was a friend…