Advice

Dear Mary: How do we get our friends to pay for the carpet they ruined?

4 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have had some rather rich Argentines to stay. No one was able to come in to help before…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my husband repeating himself?

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. A very old friend has rented a holiday house and invited my husband and me to stay. The property…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette of greeting a friend who is engaged in a ceremonial display?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. Passing Buckingham Palace in a taxi the other day, I saw the ceremonial wing of the Household Division prancing…

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: 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: 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 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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 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…

Dear Mary: What can I do about fellow passengers who won’t wear face masks?

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. On my way to Devon recently I stopped for lunch with an impeccably mannered friend. He produced first crab…

Dear Mary: How can I stop predatory kisses at social gatherings?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. How can one politely stop predatory kissers? I am (or was) an affectionate and demonstrative person but I don’t…

Dear Mary: How can I accept a party invitation when I don’t know who’s going?

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. I know it is rude to ask, when invited to a dinner party, ‘who else is coming?’ I assumed,…

Dear Mary: How can I foil a notorious place-swapper at my daughter’s wedding?

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am arranging the seating plan for my daughter’s wedding and have a problem with one of her guests…