Dear Mary

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…

Dear Mary: How do we stop our friend letting herself in to our house?

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our friend lives far away, but comes to stay at her country place nearby several times a year. Some…

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 can I deter acquaintances who want to stop and chat?

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Q. There is a Tube stop next door to my place of work but I now walk in each day.…

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: How can we set up our single friends in lockdown?

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I have two single friends who we believe should be introduced. In days gone by, we…

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…

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…

Dear Mary: How do I stop the cleaner ‘helping’ with my jigsaw?

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Q. Unlike my wife, I am tiring of Netflix. Wanting a project to occupy me during these long dark nights,…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my boss giving me a Christmas hamper?

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Q. For many years my boss gave each member of his small team a very generous Christmas gift voucher from…

Dear Mary: Will my friend be offended if I buy her an XL dress?

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Q. My son has moved his girlfriend into our fairly small house for the second lockdown. I am grateful for…

Dear Mary: How do I cope with cooking for food snobs?

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Q. I have a delightful young goddaughter who, thanks to the virus, I have not seen since last year. Her…

Dear Mary: How can I wind up a Zoom call with a chatty friend?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Q. Is there a tactful way to wind up a Zoom call when one of you has more time on…

Dear Mary: Why is my brother making me pay £400 for a drawing of my cat?

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Q. I would welcome your advice on a tricky family matter. For my 70th birthday earlier this year my brother…

Dear Mary: Can I still socialise with my virus-denying friends?

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Q. An old friend offered to treat me to a birthday lunch, provided I choose and book the restaurant myself.…

Dear Mary: We’ve had to downsize our wedding – can we still ask everyone for presents?

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Q. A year ago we sent out 150 save-the-date notices for our wedding this December. We are still going ahead,…

Dear Mary: How can my celebrity husband still be recognised in a face mask?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am running out of suitable responses to a friend who now has the slightest possible connection to one…

Dear Mary: How should I handle my bitchy friend’s birthday cards?

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Q. Many years ago I was asked to officiate at a funeral for a family I did not know. As…

Dear Mary: How do I stop people assuming I’m a billionaire?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I have spent many happy weekends in the seaside cottage of long-standing friends. Knowing how much…

Dear Mary: how can I avoid my friend’s awful favourite restaurant?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. Almost a year ago I attended the funeral of my godfather — a bachelor and distant relation whom I…

Dear Mary: How can I get my social skills back after lockdown?

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. I have just been out to my first lunch in months. Ten of us sat around a table in…

Dear Mary: How can we be sure our host gives us clean sheets?

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Q. Some friends persist on displaying our email addresses in large address lists when sending out round robins to all…