Modern manners

Why am I so angry?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Why have we become so quick to anger?

Dear Mary: Should I give my postman a Christmas present?

12 December 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am extremely fond of an artist friend, despite the fact that I have never liked her work or…

Save me from the cult of instant intimacy

5 December 2020 9:00 am

On the cult of instant intimacy

First names are for friends and family, not bosses and builders

21 November 2020 9:00 am

The death of the surname

The terror of choosing the wrong email sign off

17 October 2020 9:00 am

The etiquette of ending an email

The politics of email sign-offs

25 July 2020 9:00 am

I think Anne Applebaum is a friend of mine. I certainly hope so, since I have always admired her writing,…

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…

How did my children become more middle class than me?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

In a café in Norfolk last week, my seven-year-old son uttered words that mortified me. No, he didn’t comment loudly…

Dear Mary: How can my son tell if his cleaner is stealing from him?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Q. What is your view on emailed vs handwritten thank-yous? During my recent travels around pre-Brexit Europe I stayed in…

Can a church blessing tame my unruly dog?

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The picture on the front of the Animal Blessing Service programme featured a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a goldfish,…

Dear Mary: did our friends regift us out-of-date chocolates?

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Q. A university friend and I want to get an invitation to a very good shoot owned by a colleague…

Dear Mary: what should we do about a possible thief in our school dormitory?

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Q. I run a very small mail-order company from home. Recently I received an exceptionally rude email from a disgruntled…


Dear Mary: how can I hide that I’m no longer drinking?

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Q. I have given up drink except on certain occasions when it would be really rude to refuse. What’s the…

Dear Mary: How do I get an answer from my elusive publisher?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Q. What is the current etiquette regarding chasing an opinion from a publisher to whom, by agreement and via a…

Problems solved for Michael Fabricant, Liz Truss, Piers Morgan, Richard Madeley, Anthony Horowitz and others

15 December 2018 9:00 am

From Michael Fabricant MPQ. When I go for intimate meals at a restaurant with a friend, I am invariably asked…

Dear Mary: my Botox treatments make me look standoffish. How can I appear warm?

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Q. A friend and I are giving a combined Christmas drinks party for 120 people. It’s being held at her…

Dear Mary: How can I stop chatty friends from phoning when I’m meant to be working?

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Q. May I pass on a tip to anyone facing large family house parties at Christmas? I always used to…

Why I’ve changed my name

10 November 2018 9:00 am

As someone who has recently discovered he is black, I have watched with incredulity the treatment doled out by the…

Dear Mary: What can I do about loud train snorers?

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Q. At every drinks party one will be in mid-conversation with another guest and someone will walk over and loiter…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my wife from sabotaging my anecdotes?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I have been married for 50 years. The marriage is basically sound but she has recently…

Are you a politically correct pervert?

20 October 2018 9:00 am

It hasn’t always been easy being a progressive-minded man who prides himself on his sensitivity to issues of race, gender,…

Dear Mary: My friend’s cooked breakfasts make me gag

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Q. My fiancé and I spend many great weekends with another couple. I am a vegetarian and quite particular about…

My long gossipy letters to an old friend get just a few words in response

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Q. An old friend shares aesthetic sensibilities and tastes in people. Hence we have sustained a highly enjoyable correspondence over…

Dear Mary: what do you say to neighbours who find you in your nightdress?

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Q. I recently gave a jolly dinner for eight friends (some old, some rather famous), all home cooking, ending with…