It might not be easy, but you can find an old friend online even if you don’t have a city. Social media, search engines, and people finders can help you.
As a common name won’t be very helpful, you need to collect as much information about them as possible, like where they used to work or live. Combine details to search Google, Yahoo, Bing, or private search engines.
For instance, you might remember they worked at Nestle. You can combine Nestle, their name, and their job position there and search Google. If you’re lucky, you might find a career site or an employee listing with their current contact information.
If you can recall information like their education history, where they worked, their hometown, hobbies, and interests, you can build a search string. This will improve the likelihood of accessing relevant and current data.
To achieve all of the above, talk to other people who know your old friend. Ask them when they last talked to them, saw them, or any personal information, like their last known number or email address.
Not all of your mutual friends or acquaintances will cooperate if you fell out with your friend. However, it’s still worth looking through an old address book to check for people who knew them, whom you might have forgotten.
When you do your online search, look up any aliases or nicknames. Someone named Joseph might go by Joe, or William – Bill, etc. Keep in mind their last name could have changed with divorce or marriage.
Use People Finders
A reliable people finder site will find adequate details to help you find your old friend online. These websites compile publicly available data from the internet, which is something you’d need to do yourself otherwise, site by site.
You’ll get dozens, maybe hundreds, of links when you start your search. Most of these people will ask for an upfront fee or a registration to access a full report on the subject of your search.
You don’t have to do this at this point. Different platforms have different sales and marketing approaches, including intentionally slowing your search down to get you to pay.
It’s best to start with a free search. It will yield a list of people with your old friend’s name, at the very least. It might include previous addresses, pseudonyms and aliases, names of family members, an approximate year of birth, and maybe even their current city.
Most screening services will offer some of this information, often for a small fee. You can expect to find the following, among other details:
- Possible aliases
- Names of possible relatives
- Email addresses
- Social networking accounts
- Phone numbers
- Real estate listings
- Court records
- Home addresses
- Criminal records
- Voter registration records
- Online posts
- Marriage records
You can also search by paying a one-time fee if you don’t want to register. This could be a good idea. Just keep in mind the fees can add up.
You can use a free background check site to look up a phone number or another detail to get more information and build a search string.
Search by business, university or school, or military service. A large number of alumni sites will ask you to pay for a membership. If you find your friend on one of these sites and send them a message, they will charge you or ask them to pay to view your message. If you know where they went to school, free sites like LinkedIn can be helpful.
If you remember their hometown, you might be able to find them on social media. Facebook can help narrow the search down to one city if you remember where they went to school or their last workplace. You can also search for mutual friends on Facebook.
Another avenue to explore would be so-called friend finders. If you think your old friend is looking for you too, these sites will work well because you can leave public messages on them. If the site asks you to sign up with a credit card, it could be a scam or otherwise turn out to be costly. As with background check sites, try all the free options first.
If you decide to sign up, check your Spam folder for the confirmation email.
Perform a Photo Search
Use an old picture to do a photo search. Yes, they have surely aged, but if that picture has been posted anywhere online, you might get information on their current whereabouts.
To do an image search, you can use Google’s search tool, TinEye, Yandex, and PimEyes. There is also Pinterest Image Search and Bing Image Search.