If you’re trying to find an old friend, partner, coworker, or someone else who was important to you in the past online, you’ll be happy to know it’s become much simpler with the advent of AI and other advanced technology. It’s easy to find an old friend, classmate, or anyone else, and it often costs nothing.
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Many people have lost touch with friends, the interactions with whom brought their life joy and meaning. People simply drift apart. You might be able to rekindle that friendship just as easily as you built it!
Some ways to find old friends include using standard search engines, and people search engines, social networks, alumni sites, and other online resources.
This guide will provide some valuable resources on tracking old friends down, even with little information to go on.
Do your research
You need some background information before you begin. This includes the person’s full name, approximate year of birth (ideally the exact date of birth), an old phone number, or a previous address.
It helps to have the following details as well:
- Former places of employment
- Schools, colleges, or universities they attended
- Names of mutual friends
- The details of their last job
- Their relatives
- Interests and hobbies
Now, on to the ways you can find an old friend online.
Use Directories, and people search sites
You can use a people search site or an online directory to look up someone. People search sites aggregate data that is freely accessible online. You’d be surprised how much information they have access to and can reveal. You can even find where someone lives or used to live.
When you begin your search, a lot of people finders will pop up. They are not all the same, nor are they all trustworthy. Their sales and marketing tactics differ. Some will ask you to pay for a full background check report on the person. Others will want you to sign up and become a member. If you get a full report, paying might be worth it. At least you’ll have all the information you were looking for.
Free people finders will typically retrieve very little info, but it can be enough to go on if you have the time and energy to search yourself. You can get to them, bit by bit.
Ideally, the directory or people finder will retrieve basic details like their year of birth, place of birth, former addresses, and family members.
While not all people search sites deliver the same data, you’ll get some or all of the following:
- Phone numbers
- Possible aliases
- Names of possible relatives
- Social networking accounts
- Email addresses
- Home addresses
- Criminal records
- Court records
Do a Facebook Search
Facebook is still the most-used social medium across the globe. You’ll get a list of names when you search for users by name. If the name is common, the list will be overwhelmingly long. You need a city or another piece of information to narrow it down.
If your friend is using a nickname or alias, you’re out of luck unless you know any nicknames they used. You can try matching nicknames to their given name.
Their profile might be private, in which case you won’t get the right match.
No matter what info you use to search, look at the matches’ location, photos, and any additional details.
Don’t Neglect traditional search engines
Beyond a Google search, consider Yahoo, Bing, and other lesser-known search engines. Try at least one apart from Google to increase your chances of finding your old friend.
If their name is unusual, you might get speedy results. Check the list of matches that come up very carefully to avoid inaccurate ones and follow up on promising leads. Enter the name surrounded by quotation marks when you search, along with any extra information, like an alias or their middle name.
Some leads won’t bring results, but you shouldn’t give in to frustration. Keep at it if you really want to find them.
What if you do find them?
If you obtain contact information that seems accurate, you can proceed to reach out. Be cautious and introduce yourself first. There’s still a chance you got the wrong person. There is also a chance you didn’t, but their reaction might differ from what you expect.