It was not easy to find people you had lost touch with in the “good” old days. If you wanted to locate a former coworker or an old college buddy or want to find lost people, your options came down to the phone directory or taking out a classified ad. It is much easier in the age of social media, background check services, and Google.
Background Check Services
You can use a background check provider to find an old friend by entering any information you recall about them. The more information you’re able to provide, the better, but you need their name and last known address as a bare minimum. The background check service will find their current details. The information available might include data on family members or even a current phone number.
While background check services have simplified searches beyond belief, you should handle any data you come across carefully. If you decide to call the numbers you get, introduce yourself first and ask if you can get in touch with your friend politely. The last thing you want is for someone to become suspicious of your motives.
Your college buddy will be on Google if they’ve ever been on the news or otherwise risen to prominence. In fact, Google should be your first point of action. If they have an unusual name, you might get lucky just by looking it up. If it’s relatively common, you need to add further information. Try names of their relatives or a significant other, whom they may have married in the meantime, any interests, their major in college, and their hobbies.
You might find the search engine’s reverse image search option useful if you have a photo of your buddy. Google will search for similar photos online and provide links to their location. This might help you find what you’re looking for. To look for photos on Google, click on the camera icon in images followed by “upload image.” Finally, do a search to prompt the engine to look for a similar picture.
Classmates Dot Com
This alumni network is a rich resource with tens of millions of users in North America alone. It’s possible to search for college friends by name of the university, college, or high school, their name, any military affiliation, or a place of employment. Best of all, searches are free.
If you opt for a free membership, you can also add your friend’s name to the school they went to, use class lists to find old classmates, create and edit profiles, read about school events or reunions, or post and view messages and albums. To get someone’s email, address, or other details, you’ll have to pay for membership.
LinkedIn is a great option because users almost always list the schools they went to. Finding them can be as simple as entering the school you both went to. As LinkedIn is based on education and job connections and similarities, it will link you to former classmates automatically.
Moreover, you can use LinkedIn to search for members by location, name, and job position. You can also create and edit a profile, view other people’s profiles, and add others to your network.
Facebook can be very useful, as well. With more than 2 billion users, it’s definitely worth trying. Private profiles won’t show up, but you can still try to find lost people. Pay more attention to images than to names because there are many people with the same name, even if it’s an unusual one.
Try words you associated with your buddy or a nickname they had if you aren’t getting anywhere with a name and pictures. Click on People in the top menu to customize your query by mutual friends, location, workplace, or education.
Finally, talk to other former classmates you’ve stayed in touch with or to mutual friends. Ask them if they’ve heard from your old buddy. Inquire about the state or city where they live, a phone number, and other personal details. Look through old address books for connections to them that you may have forgotten.