In our busy lives, changing jobs, getting married, getting divorced, and having kids, years can go by, and suddenly you realize there is a close friend who you haven’t seen or talked to in ages. Now you want to find them. Tread lightly. However, a lot can change over time, and although they may be excited to hear from you, they may also be less enthusiastic. There is no one-size-fits-all situation. Take it slow and let it evolve into whatever it ends up being. Expect some awkwardness at first but carry with you hope that reconnecting works for both of you.
Just about everyone has a friend they lost track of and would love to reconnect with. The experience of actually finding them can be a little scary but also very exciting and possibly rewarding for both of you. There are a few great ways to find someone you lost touch with online or in person.
Social Media Re-Connections
Just about everyone on the planet is now on social media, including the Dalai Lama and prominent political figures. Chances are your long-lost friend is there too. Most of the popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others offer a search bar where you can try to locate people. If their accounts are set to private, you can send them an instant message to strike up a conversation and find out if they are who you think they are.
If you strike out searching that way, try searching on social media for your high school or college and check other alumni sites. You might also try to reach out to friends online who knew you both. Social media is like a web where if you pull a thread, it may lead you down a winding path, but you might end up where you wanted to go. Many stories circulate about miraculous connections and re-connections made through social media. We live in a very interconnected world, and social media is the glue that binds us together.
Do a Google Search
One of the most popular ways to find someone online is to perform a people search on Google. Just enter the person’s name (maiden or married) in a Google search. Make sure you put quotes around the person’s name, so it looks for both names in sequence. Otherwise, it will search for both names independently. You might also try searches with their names along with schools, businesses, or other people they might have been associated with.
You may also try to locate siblings or other family members of your friend first and then see if they can give you more information on how to find them. Just because your friend’s name does not come up, it does not mean you are at a dead end.
Contact Your Old School or People Who Knew You Both
Many high schools and colleges keep track of alumni and have lists of names and addresses for past students. You can call their directory office and ask if they know where your friend ended up and if they can provide that information. You may also ping teachers, acquaintances, co-workers, or other people who knew them as well. Someone will probably have information on where they ended up, who they married, and how you can get in touch with them now.
Attend a School Reunion or Other Function Where You Might Bump Into them
Don’t overlook the obvious. If your friend used to be a member of some association, or attend the same school as you, you can go to a reunion or other function where they might also be. If they do not show up, you are in a room full of resources, don’t let that slip by. Ask around; someone probably knows something about your friend and where to connect with them. The more information you can gather from friends of friends, the better off you’ll be trying some of these other methods.
Pay Someone to Find Your Friend
You can always pay a service or private investigator to find your long-lost friend, but it might end up being costly. You will need to supply the company or person with basic information so they can start on the trail.
Use a Public Records Online Database
Another highly effective method of finding someone or finding out all about them before you contact them is using a public records online database. These types of services allow you to use a username search or reverse username lookup and find a plethora of information quickly and easily. The stuff you can find out about is vast, including marriages, divorces, liens, lawsuits, criminal records, court records, addresses, phone numbers, social media, assets, bankruptcies, driving records, license plate lookups property records, and even VIN information.
Public records portals are easy to use with just a simple name search, and the results are astounding. Not only may you find your long-lost friend, but you can also find out all about them before reaching out to them.