Etiquette

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,…

Dear Mary: How much should I pay my cleaner during the lockdown?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Mary, what percentage of cleaners’ normal wages should we pay them when they can’t come in for the foreseeable…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my family scoffing our coronavirus chocolate stockpile?

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. How can I stop a member of the household from glutting out on the chocolate supply I have stockpiled?…

Dear Mary: How can I foil a notorious place-swapper at my daughter’s wedding?

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am arranging the seating plan for my daughter’s wedding and have a problem with one of her guests…

Dear Mary: Should I return my pod coffee maker on moral grounds?

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Q. I adore doing jigsaws and these days there’s an added bonus — by posting my progress on Instagram I…

Dear Mary: Should I tell my friend that his expensive lunch made me ill?

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Q. I see a lot of two of our grandchildren because they live in our London house. We are centrally…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette about kissing during the coronavirus scare?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am having a drinks party to celebrate the publication of my latest book. I sent out invitations (to…

Dear Mary: As an actor, how do I cope with strangers who think they know me?

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Q. I have hired a private room in a restaurant in order to give dinner to a large number of…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my mother-in-law sitting on newspaper whenever she comes to my house?

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Q. When my mother-in-law visits, she puts newspaper on a dining chair before sitting down. I’m so speechless that someone…

Dear Mary: How can I stop other diners eating my chips?

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I are committed Brexiteers. For many years we have regularly enjoyed friendly bridge evenings with a…

Dear Mary: How can I hang out with smokers at parties without freezing?

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Q. As a young woman I tend not to wear that much to social events in the evening, but I…

Dear Mary, from Joan Collins: How do I stop fans asking for selfies in the powder room?

21 December 2019 9:00 am

From Dame Joan CollinsQ. Invariably, when I escape to the ladies’ room or powder room or restroom (whatever the current…

Dear Mary: What can we do about our son’s girlfriend’s appalling table manners?

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Q. My son has a girlfriend who we like but who has appalling table manners. They come to stay most…

The unwritten rules of sending Christmas cards

7 December 2019 9:00 am

No one sends Christmas cards any more. Except that I do, and you might, and a few other people do…

Dear Mary: How do I stop getting lumbered with the washing up on weekends away?

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Q. A friend, who is very careful with his money, occasionally invites a group of six to eight out to…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my husband eating everything in the fridge?

23 November 2019 9:00 am

Q. A friend of a friend has an apartment in Venice. I would like to commiserate with her about the…

Dear Mary: What should I do about a Lib Dem friend who can no longer take a joke?

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Q. I sent a WhatsApp message to a Lib Dem friend of 15 years. ‘How are you finding being a…

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…