manners

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…

The importance of giving offence

12 December 2020 9:00 am

As dons at Cambridge vote on a new protocol on constraints to free speech, we mark this month the 500th…

Why it pays to be rude to ramblers

12 December 2020 9:00 am

If the novelty of going for a walk doesn’t wear thin for the marauding masses soon, I am going to…

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: 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 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…

Dear Mary: How can I hide my lockdown weight gain?

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. For professional reasons it is important that I am not fat. However I have put on more than a…

Dear Mary: how do I confront a work colleague who has bad BO?

22 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. My son is having his 30th birthday next weekend and has invited 50 friends to a garden party. We…

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 do I tell my neighbours I forgot to feed their cat?

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. We invited two friends to supper in London. As they came in they said they should order their taxi…

Dear Mary: What gift can you buy for the hosts who have everything?

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am not expected to pay rent at the cottage which has been lent to me by a super-kind…

Dear Mary: Where should we seat wedding guests who hold unfashionable views?

25 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. Our daughter is going ahead with her wedding despite the restriction on guest numbers. Although it is a relief…

Dear Mary: How can I help the host at a socially-distant dinner party?

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. As we attend socially distant events, we expect of our hosts a scrupulous accommodation of our preferences around physical…

Dear Mary: How can I leave a boring WhatsApp group without upsetting anyone?

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. During lockdown I have done my level best to assist with household chores. Last week, while my wife was…

Dear Mary: Will my lockdown appearance be too off-putting for the office?

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Q. Just before Covid, we moved out of London with the intention of having a quiet life in the country.…

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…