Etiquette

Dear Mary: How do I tell my neighbours I’m too busy to stop for a chat?

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Q. My parents are abroad for two months and as my flatmates in London are all, like me, working from…

Dear Mary: How do I stop a mutual friend giving my contact details to a man I don’t like?

30 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. Everyone was divine at a very jolly lunch I attended in the Cotswolds with the exception of one person,…

Dear Mary: How do I avoid getting waylaid at a packed party?

16 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. I have found parties frustrating this month because they have been too crowded. Is there a polite way to…

Dear Mary: Must I call my new partner my ‘boyfriend’ when we’re in our seventies?

25 June 2022 9:00 am

Q. My girlfriend and I have started using a personal trainer for some joint sessions at our local gym; the…

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 stop my husband spying on me?

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. My husband has developed an irksome habit whenever he goes abroad without me. We have cameras outside the house…

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of tipping takeaway delivery drivers?

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Rory Sutherland recently wrote about high-end takeaways (Wiki Man, 19 February). In the last London lockdown, I was fortunate…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my new friend leaving me broke?

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. Recently I started hanging out with a new friend. We are both in our twenties, single, and usually go…

Dear Mary: How do I tell my friends that napkin rings are the height of naff?

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Q. Three weeks ago I banged my head on the lower branch of our near neighbours’ tree, which I couldn’t…

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: 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,…