Dear Abby | European vacation plans are tripped up by broken ankle

Dear Abby: I had planned a trip to Europe with my friend “Elizabeth,” a friend of hers and Elizabeth’s daughter. The plan was I would share rooms with Elizabeth. We paid for the hotels in advance.

Shortly before our scheduled departure I fell, broke my ankle and couldn’t go. We tried unsuccessfully to obtain some kind of refunds, and travel insurance paid only if the accident happened while we were actually traveling.

I was out $2,000. Elizabeth’s friend offered me $500. Elizabeth, feeling some obligation, also offered me $500. I feel guilty taking Elizabeth’s money because she paid for herself and her daughter. I think the other woman should give me at least half – not just $500 – because she derived 100 percent of the benefit. Also, she has never reached out to me directly at all.

No money has been received at this point. Should I just write it off? Or am I wrong to expect some of the money back? – Money Woes in the East

Dear Money Woes: Yes, you are wrong. Nobody owes you anything. Accidents happen, but the broken ankle was your bad luck. It was generous of Elizabeth and her friend to offer you any money at all. My advice is to accept it graciously, write the rest off, and stop looking for someone to be mad at.

Dear Abby: One of my relatives has bipolar disorder, and as far as I know he takes medicine for it. However, at our Christmas celebration last year he became verbally aggressive and abusive toward a family member who had done nothing to provoke it. Needless to say, it put a damper on the festivities.

Some people make excuses for him because he’s bipolar, but I don’t want another holiday ruined because of his behavior (which can be unpredictable). Must the rest of us sit on pins and needles hoping he doesn’t explode this Christmas? I’d prefer not to invite him until he has better control of himself. Your opinion, please? – Hoping for Happy Holidays

Dear Hoping: You have a point. A solution might be to talk directly with your relative and explain that if he’s taking his medication – which means there will be no unpredictable outbursts – he is welcome to be your guest for Christmas. If not, however, he should make other plans.