Advice

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 get my masseuse to stop talking?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our two daughters often bring friends down for the weekend. These friends are more than welcome; we enjoy their…

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: How do I get rid of my terrible cleaner?

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have recently become a widow. Since my son is away at university, I had the idea of charging…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my grey-haired friend giving away my true age?

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. I never lie about my age but I try not to think — or talk — about it. Now…

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,…