Dear Mary

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 we say no to a neighbour who wants to use our pool?

23 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. I was billeted for a party in Norfolk with a couple previously unknown to me. They were more than…

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: How do I get my cleaner to put everything back in its proper place?

9 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. This year once again my company took a small group of clients to lunch at Royal Ascot. Our guests…

Dear Mary: How do I get a party invitation from the friend who thinks I snubbed him?

2 July 2022 9:00 am

Q. I have heard news of a forthcoming party which I would really love to attend. The problem is that…

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: my pool guests are outstaying their welcome

18 June 2022 9:00 am

Q. A close friend, who has lost most of her income in recent years, has done something disfiguring to a…

Dear Mary: how can we get a neighbour to acknowledge our kind deed?

11 June 2022 9:00 am

Q. As a mildly famous professional cook, I agreed to judge a children’s cake-baking competition at the summer fête of…

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 we stop friends dropping by without calling?

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. Some years ago, much to the surprise of our many friends in London, my husband and I moved to…

Dear Mary: how do I alert my neighbour to my generosity?

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Q. We went for lunch over the bank holiday with the parents of one of my son’s schoolfriends. We had…

Dear Mary: How do I get back the book I lent to a friend?

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Q. As a publisher, I have been fortunate to discover an unpublished writer who is the author of some truly…

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: how can I avoid splitting the bill?

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Q. These days I am on a tight budget while many of my friends are still able to spend freely.…

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…