• Keeping Friends

Ten tips for finding a long lost friend

Published: March 23, 2013 | Last Updated: June 1, 2020 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

Sometimes my thoughts wander and I think about a long lost friend—someone who seemed to drop out of my life for no apparent reason. I wonder where they are and what they are doing. If you have had thoughts like this, here are some tips for finding a long lost friend:

  • Try finding the person using Google by putting her first name and last name in quotes. See what comes up. If you know the city and/or state where she lives or last lived, you can refine the search by putting that after her name in quotes.
  • Similarly, you can try Pipl.com. This is a meta-search engine that finds people using numerous public databases.
  • Check out groups from your high school or college on social networking sites like FacebookTwitter, or MySpace.
  • Search for former classmates on sites like Reunion.com—or email or phone the alumni office of your alma mater.
  • Let your fingers do the walking—use the white pages directory on switchboard.com.
  • No luck finding her in a directory? Are her parents or other relatives findable? Chances are they may still live in the same town she did. Try finding their phone numbers or email addresses.
  • If you don’t know any relatives, you could try the friend-of-a-friend route. Do you know someone who knew her that you are still in touch with and who may be easier to find?
  • Any clue to the kind of work she is doing? Perhaps, you can find her through LinkedIn, a professional association, or the human resources office of her former place of employment.
  • Jigsaw.com is a database with 20 million business contacts, including addresses, titles, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. You can either subscribe or pay a $5 charge to find contact information for one individual.
  • In my prior post, I mentioned that finding old female friends is far more challenging than finding males ones because of changes in surnames. Taub offered a clever suggestion: Search major newspapers for engagement or wedding announcements that may offer clues to your girlfriend’s new married name.

Finally, even better than digging: If you develop a blog, personal website, or other web presence, your old friends may come out of the woodwork looking for you.

Have you ever found a long lost friend? How did it work out?

A previous version of this Vintage Friendship Blog post appeared in 2010.

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Category: Legacy friendships

Comments (2)

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  1. Julie says:

    I’ve used Google & Facebook to find long-vanished old friends–mostly to discover what they’ve been up to since we lost contact. The ones from college, however, are difficult to find for some reason. One of them must have married, because I can’t find her anywhere. Other friends just don’t seem to have much of an internet presence.

    The ones I DO find, I often discover my curiousity is satisffied. Pretty much. I don’t want to contact them. I don’t want them to contact me. It’s like wanting to know how the story is going, I guess.

  2. Jennifer Margulis says:

    Facebook has been an amazing way to reconnect with long lost friends. But then it’s so hard to keep up, even once you find them again!

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