Etiquette

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.…

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of loo-flushing for overnight guests?

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I have started receiving invitations to large summer events scheduled for after 21 June. We have…

Dear Mary: How can we use our neighbour’s tennis court without inviting him to play?

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our neighbours have a tennis court which, under the property’s previous owner, we enjoyed playing men’s fours on. The…

Dear Mary: How do I reject a wedding invitation without causing offence?

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have just been invited to a wedding where the groom will be the only person I know. Much…

Dear Mary: How do we stop chatty workmen from disturbing us?

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have been working (from home) for a TV comedy production company for a year. My job is scouting…

Dear Mary: How can I prioritise ‘first division’ friends after lockdown?

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Q. Before Covid, I was staying with friends in the country every other weekend. As a single man living in…

Dear Mary: What should my wife and I do with the risque photos we took in our youth?

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Q. I hesitate to bring you this problem, but I suspect it is not that uncommon. Early in our very…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my neighbour she’s let herself go in lockdown?

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Q. Recently an old acquaintance, notorious for never penning a ‘thank you’ note, emailed me telling me he was being…

Will social kisses survive Covid?

27 February 2021 9:00 am

There is a ‘pervasive presence of Chinese military-linked conglomerates and universities in the sponsorship of high-technology research centres in many…

Dear Mary: Why is my 87-year-old mother emailing me risque jokes?

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Q. My mother, aged 87, has taken to forwarding me by email slightly risqué jokes. Her carer is the recipient…

Dear Mary: What should I do about my husband’s schoolboy table habits?

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Q. My husband has always worked extremely hard and now does so from home — so I go to great…

Dear Mary: Is my husband’s forgetfulness about fastening his flies costing us friends?

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Q. I was instrumental in finding some much-needed work for a local retired secretary/PA when I recommended her for the…

Dear Mary: How do we thank a friend when we’ve forgotten what they sent us?

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Q. Following the birth of our child we were deluged with cards, gifts and money from kind family and friends.…

Dear Mary, from Joanna Lumley: what should I do with my excess Christmas cards?

19 December 2020 9:00 am

From Joanna Lumley Q. We receive a huge number of Christmas cards every year. When I take them all down…