Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How To Tell A Friend About Your Bed Bug Problem

I've received a few comments from people who don't know what to tell their friends in regards to their infestation, or from people who've had bad experience revealing their bed bug problems to friends and family.

Like this comment from one understandably freaked-out Australian:

I am very conscious that everyone I have told ("friends") think that I've done something to bring this upon myself, and also that it's not a big deal. Of course, offer to show them the bugs, and they FREAK OUT and flatly refuse. It's real hypocrisy in action.
There is no easy answer to this. The answer really depends on who it is you're telling. The one thing you can be sure of is that you can definitely tell who your real friends are by telling them about your bed bug infestation. My advice is to tell as few people as possible. God forbid they become infested, either by you or somewhere else, they will blame you or worse, sue you. Better to keep such information to yourself, especially when you have no real way of knowing if your friends got bed bugs from you or from another source.

Last week I regained contact with an old friend who I had not seen in years. Our phone conversation became very uncomfortable when he asked me what had been going on in my life in the last few years. Careful to choose what events to tell him, I told him about meeting M, launching my other blog, I'm Not The Only One, my recent graduation from college, and my hopeless search for steady employment that is now stretching into six months. M invited him over for dinner, and I was nervous because I did not tell him about Bugged Out or about my past bed bug infestation.

My friend C came in and my eyebrows shot upwards as he casually dumped his knapsack on my floor. I immediately picked it up and placed it on a chair, saying I didn't want it to get dusty. He stayed for about six hours, and the three of us enjoyed the dinner. Since he and M are both into cooking and are Food Network addicts, they had lots to talk about. M made antipasto salad, steak in a honey barbecue marinade, yellow rice and corn on the cob. We had hazelnut coffee and Stella D'oro cookies for dessert.

We had a good time, but bed bugs were always in the back of my mind, wondering if C would find one in my home, or worse, take home a souvenir. As much as I enjoyed his company, I was glad to see him go. I'm not sure how he would react if he found out instead of me telling him. Would he feel I was hiding it from him? Would C suspect I was trying to intentionally pass bed bugs on to him?

The problem with telling people I have bed bugs (and I've told very, very few people), the revelation must be accompanied by the drawn-out back story of how I got them, how I lost all my furniture as a result, how I struggled to get rid of them and how I have them under control without actual proof of complete eradication. I know C is a pretty cool guy, and we've known each other for about 8 or 9 years, so he would understand, but might be apprehensive to return. M invited him over for my birthday next month. Maybe I'll tell him before then, at least before he finds out about Bugged Out.


Anonymous said...

I returned home from a weekend stay in NYC with a mysterious rash all over my body...and whatdayaknow, took me two weeks to figure out its bed bugs bites. Stayed in two different friends' beds and shared a couch with a 100 lb boxer. Now that I read about it, I was asking for trouble. I'm taking antihistamines, applying cortisone cream and even washing my hair with special shampoo. But can I still be active? I'm a runner and can't imagine stopping my activities. Thanks for your forum. I'm in the process of apt hunting in the City and grateful for your posts. Darn bugs!

Anonymous said...

My problem is that I live in an apartment with three other roommates. They've commented on the red spots on my arms and legs and I just tell them they're mosquito bites. Our landlord put screen in the windows a couple of weeks ago and no one else has "mosquito" bites, so I'm having a hard time keeping up the story. I try to keep my arms covered and try to hide them when we're all together. By the middle of next month, we'll all be going our separate ways when we graduate from school. Do I just hope the time goes by quickly and not say anything???

Anonymous said...

It is truly difficult to talk about bed bugs to anyone. My husband's reaction? " They are on your side of the bed! " And..."I don't have any bites! "
So, not having help and a husband who is a clutter freak, makes getting rid of the vampire bug next to impossible.

I've been up since 3:30 trying to catch a bug so I can show my husband. I will look tomorrow for the next when he is out mowing the lawn. The real "itch" of that problem is hearing the blame when he sees it. Yes, we travelled together all the way through Korea and stayed in Chicago, but it's still my fault. I kind of hope he'll stay in our pole barn till I get rid of the beasts.