Etiquette

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, 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 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: Should I pay to charge my electric car at a friend’s house?

9 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. An acquaintance suggested organising a celebratory dinner in honour of some mutual friends. He asked my husband and me,…

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…

Why am I so angry?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Why have we become so quick to anger?

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: How do we stop our friends’ dogs wrecking our house?

26 June 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have old friends who live in the northern hinterlands and have a property in Provence where they normally…

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…

Dear Mary: How do we tell our friend that her hairstyle doesn’t suit her?

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Q. At a lunch party, I was getting on so well with someone I had not met before. She knew…

In our narcissistic age, nothing beats good manners

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Why rudeness doesn’t pay

Dear Mary: should we exclude our friend for not having had his Covid vaccine?

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Q. Once restrictions are lifted, our annual walking group has planned a week’s walk with after-walk gatherings in a different…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette around gifts for virtual weddings?

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have been invited to a virtual wedding. Is it correct form to send a present?— P.F., Barrow Street,…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my fiancee that she eats with her mouth open?

15 May 2021 9:00 am

Q. I’ve recently been approached by a very good friend who — with genuinely admirable candour and tact — pointed…

Dear Mary: How do I cope with colleagues’ bad habits now I’m back in the office?

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Q. I am placed in a social dilemma due to a proposed visit on the last weekend of June by…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my sister-in-law pinching food off my plate?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Q. Since the relaxation of lockdown, my brother and his wife have started coming to our garden for takeaway meals.…