For sentimental reasons or due to a pressing need that only an old friend can help you fulfill, many of us have at one time or the other found ourselves in the peculiar situation of wanting to find a long-lost friend. The intervening period since you were with your friend lastly might be anything from 5 to 30 years, and without any clue about how to start looking for their whereabouts; this can be a daunting task.
If you are trying to find old military friends, for instance, the most natural place to begin your search would, no doubt, be the internet. Presently, there are many ways to find old friends if you know how to effectively use the various tools available on the internet. However, if your friend’s name is common or if their online presence is limited or non-existent, the job of locating them can still be a headache. But if you search meticulously and patiently, your effort must yield a positive outcome.
Basically, there are many methods you can use because a search means you don’t know where or how to find friends from high school. Here are a few tips to help you along.
Start Your Search by Word of Mouth
Although this seems obvious enough, you might be too anxious to get quick ways to find old friends that could make you overlook searching by asking around. This is a simple, cheap and efficient method since all you need to do is talk to other people who knew your old friend.
- Your search may start in a hometown you shared in your childhood, where you went to school or college together or where you last worked together. If you know of any living relatives, you might as well give them a call.
- You should also contact anyone who might know the person you are searching for and ask them when they last saw your candidate, their contact address if they ever left any, phone numbers or an email address. Your next move should be too –
Writing Down Your Friend’s Detailed Information
Now that you have asked around and came out empty handed, it is not the time to throw up your hand in surrender, but this is an opportunity you have to begin the proverbial search for the needle in the haystack. The only catch here is that you don’t have the slightest clue in which stack the needle is buried or the particular field where the stack is located! The information to be armed with includes:
- Names of all towns or places where he lived
- Their maiden name and names of family members
- Their skin complexion, hair color, height, and body weight
Remember that not all the people you contact will be cooperative especially if you had a major falling out with your friend. Also, go over any scrap of writing from your old diary or address book to find out whether there is any clue you can dig out.
Take Your Search Online
The next logical step to make is going online in case your manual efforts yield nothing. This can be tricky because mere search engine results can be too broad or t can bring up nothing. You will save yourself a lot of trouble is you know how to use search queries/search engines efficiently.
- Enter nicknames and other variants of the friend’s name apart from their first name.
- You can make your search smart by enclosing the name in quotes and adding other information like the company he worked for, the school he/she attended, and their last know residence.
Another way of searching online is to search the images on Google by entering their name. Follow the link to a site with a face matching your friend’s. Their contact details may not be available, but an updated image may make your later search easier.
Search Government Records
If the two ways to find an old friend mentioned above still yield nothing, it is time you took your search to the government records.
- Begin by looking at the record for marriages online and the things to pinpoint are the country where the friend stayed or the state if it is in the US.
- The marriage record may not give you an address, but it will give you another name to go after, either the name of a spouse or a changed name.
Search Political Contributions in the US – The US Federal Election Committee has a website where all the names of individuals who donate more than $250 to political causes are registered. The registration always includes an address too.
While you are searching the records to find friends from high school, you should not forget to look at the court records. The process can be tedious because there is no specific database to search, but you will need to request for a file from a specific court. This implies you should know the name of the state or country where your friend lived. If you are trying to find old military friends, the records from the barracks will help.
People Search and Social Media Sites
Another way of how to find old friends is through the social media sites. Make a search of sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social sites.
- On Facebook, you simply need to type the name in the search box and hit the enter button
- Select People on the pane on the left, and then enter the possible schools, workplaces, and locations in the list of filters that appear at the top of the search.
- There are also websites that are dedicated to searching for people. Some of them are paid for but others are free.
- Also, you can be a member of a friend-finding site that link up fiends searching for each other or you can use a business, military service or an alumni site.