Jan
11

People Search: How to Find/Reconnect with Someone

Locate old friends and former business associates. 

Whether you’ve graduated, moved away for work, or gotten older and lost touch with some friends or business associates, you can find a way to search for them and reconnect through People Search.

Although you’ve lost touch, you can search for them, and it’s probably easier than you think. It’s even possible to search for them for free. Using digital-age search methods and tools, you can locate old friends and renew the connection to add more joy and meaning to your everyday life.

It’s always worth the effort to try and find old friends. There are a ton of resources available nowadays to make your search a success. At the very heart of your search, you just need to learn how to use the best tool of all, the Internet.

You can start your free online search using search engines like Google or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Next, you can look into other resources like alumni websites. Then, you can use search tools like Searchbug’s People Search. If nothing turns up from these searches, you can hire a private investigator to look for your long-lost friends.

Remember that it’s normal to lose touch with some people in your life as you get older. You move places, find new friends, form new relationships, get married, have children, and more. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot rekindle lost relationships. According to this study, a person tends to have the most number of friends at 25. After that, you lose touch with some people, reducing the number of friends that you have. It’s harder to maintain relationships while having other stuff on your plate, such as family and career. Still, there comes the point in your life that you just have more time to restore essential friendships, such as when your children have gone to college, or you have retired.

Once you find long-lost friends, there is just a happy inexplicable feeling. If you’re able to rekindle the friendship, it can feel so rewarding. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to be found, and some friends might not be interested in rebuilding the relationship. Still, it’s worth the shot because you’ll never know unless you try.

So, how to find and reconnect with someone? Here are some practical tips.

6 Practical Tips to Do Your People Search

1. Organize your People Search

When you start your search to reconnect with someone, it helps to be organized so you can keep track of the information you collect. Some people may be effortless to find, but others might be a little more challenging. As more information comes your way, you may have to look into the details, so it pays to stay organized. You will be able to find old friends and business associates by being methodical and using the right tools.

You can either organize your search on paper or a computer. Get a notebook and write down all the information that you remember about the person that you’re looking to reconnect with. Having a notebook to keep all the details will help you stay organized with your search. Ensure that you keep your notebook somewhere safe so you don’t lose it. You should also save all information on your computer. It is recommended that you prioritize putting all the information that you have on your computer since you’ll be doing a lot of searching through the internet. By doing this, you can just copy and paste information when doing People Search. Still, it doesn’t hurt to do both so you can have a backup. 

If you’re tech-savvy, you’re probably already using the apps that can help organize your search. A note-taking app could do the trick. So does a spreadsheet app. Save all your documents in properly organized folders, so it’s easy to go back to them whenever you need to.

Think in advance about the information that you may find. By knowing what details you’ll be able to collect, you can categorize them and make it easier to find specific details as your search progresses. Define conflicting information, compare sources, and create different categories as needed.

2. Write down all the information that you have

This tip is related to the first practical tip. You need to organize all the information that you already have and create a list of the information.  Start your search to reconnect with someone with information that you can remember.

To learn how to find and reconnect with someone, you’ll typically start with an online search that begins with at least one solid piece of information about that person.

Searching for someone online is like solving a puzzle. The more information you have in place, the easier it is to complete the puzzle and fill in the gaps.

Reminisce and try to remember details about the people you want to search for online. If you have the contact information of other people who might have information about the person you’re trying to reconnect with, get in touch with them and ask if they know any of these details. We suggest you start with some of this information that can serve as a starting point for your people search:

– Name (full name, if possible)

– Nicknames or aliases

– Birthdate (approximate age)

– Previous addresses

– Previous schools

– Previous employers

– Marital status (maiden and married name if female)

– Friends and other associates

– Photos

– Old phone numbers

– Old email addresses

Of course, it’s unlikely to have all information about someone you lost contact with.. Otherwise, you’d just contact them. It’s just good to have as much information as you can remember. The more information you have, the easier it might be to build your people search.

3. Start your free people search using search engines

Knowing how to find and reconnect with someone for free using search engines is a great skill. You can use this to find old friends and reconnect with them. When embarking on this free search, you start with the king of search engines, Google. Later, you can also scour for information from other search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Bing.

Start by searching on Google using their name. If you know their full names, then that would be great. For instance, if your friend’s name is Michael Peterson, you can input his name on Google and see what information you can find.

If the person you are trying to reconnect with has a common name, chances are you’re going to get hundreds to thousands of results, especially in densely populated cities or states. Some of these people may be relevant, and some may not. If the person you are trying to reconnect with has an unusual name, you might get relevant results a lot quicker. After doing a Google search, widen your search on a couple of other search engines.

Read through at least the first five pages of the results. Carefully read to find what might be relevant to the person you’re trying to find. If anything looks promising, take notes of those.

To improve your search, make it specific. If you know the full name, including the middle name of the person you are trying to reconnect with input it in Google. If you know any other information such as a nickname, address, or employment address, include it in your search.  Using some of the Google search operators can also help with your search. By including specific filetype operators you can ask Google to search for people inside PDFs, Excel files, Word Documents as well as others.

Going back to our example, if you know more information about your friend, Michael Peterson, such as his middle name (Watkins), nickname (Mike), former location (California), and work (entrepreneur), you can have the following combination of searches.

– Michael Peterson

– Michael Watkins Peterson

– “Michael Peterson” (to search for the exact string)

– Mike Peterson

– Michael Peterson California

– Michael Peterson California entrepreneur

– “Michael Peterson” California entrepreneur

– “Mike Peterson” California entrepreneur

Mix and match to have several combinations in your search, which might yield better results. If you know that your friend has been married, try to include that on your search as well in case of wedding announcements archived online.

For this example, it might also be worth it to search for synonyms of the term “entrepreneur.” So, you can also search for “Mike Peterson California businessman” or “Michael Peterson business owner.”

As you gather valuable information, organize them to refer to them whenever you need to quickly. Copy and save links. Take note of where the data is coming from.

Do several iterations of your search, improving each time using new information. For instance, if you’ve found out that your friend has moved to New York City, you can search for “Michael Peterson New York City” and “Mike Peterson NYC businessman.”

Power tip: Take note of possible relatives and associates of your friend. Include them in your search and try to contact them if possible. They might be able to lead you to the person you’re looking for.

4. Look for them on social media

Start your search with Facebook. According to Pew Research, around 7 in 10 US adults say that they use Facebook daily and 5 in 10 say they visit the social networking site several times a day. Although there is no assurance that you’ll find your friend this way, the chances are good.

Log in to Facebook using your account and input your friend’s name on the search bar located at the top of the page. You can start with your friend’s full name. Sometimes, while typing your friend’s name, you can get relevant suggestions as you type. Once you’ve entered your friend’s name and you’re already on the results page, filter it by clicking “People.” It will show accounts of people having similar names as your friend, or you might find their account this way and reconnect from there. If your friend has a common name, you’ll likely get many results.

Be sure to try different combinations of your friend’s name. Your friend might be using their nickname on Facebook, so try that as well.

If you can’t find your friend this way, try to use other information that you have. For example, if you went to the same high school, there might be a Page or Group dedicated to your high school. Do your search there because even if you don’t find your friend there, you’ll likely find an acquaintance who might know current information about your friend.  If you’re searching for a female friend that got married, searching by a maiden name may not produce results if they’ve been married a long time. If you can find relatives, parents, or old neighbors perhaps they might know if the person you’re looking for has been married or divorced and if they changed their last name. 

Although Facebook is popular, not everyone uses it. So, it might be worth joining and exploring other social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each of these sites has a search tool that you can use.

5. Use a People Search Tool

No luck on search engines and social media? Do a People Search on reputable search tools like Searchbug.

Sometimes finding and reconnecting with someone requires paying to use a professional people search tool to obtain more information. On Searchbug, a professional people search website, you can look for people by address, name, phone, and email. You can also search for phone numbers, addresses, and much more.

When using a search tool, your results may include a long list of people with the same name. These results may also include the approximate ages of each person, past and potentially current locations, possible relatives, and aliases.

A search tool often provides a wealth of information. If you have a few pieces of information about your long-lost friend, you should be able to narrow down the results. You may be able to at least find one location where they’ve lived. If you get connected with a family member or acquaintance, it can be easier to locate your friend.

Paying for a detailed people search report will provide you with accurate information that is virtually impossible to find using other methods. The detailed report can include current contact information, which will allow you to reconnect with your friend. You can either find an email address or a phone number and start rekindling your relationship from there.

A professional people search tool can certainly help you find and reconnect with someone. Results often give you information including names of possible relatives, possible aliases, phone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, social networking accounts, court records, criminal records, real estate listings, voter registration records, and marriage records.

6. Hire an Investigator

You can also look for your long-lost friend without doing the work on your own. Hire a private investigator who specializes in people searches. If you’ve done your own search and haven’t found anything or you don’t have the time to do the search on your own, it might be worth it to hire an investigator. You’ll likely be more successful with your search if you do this.

A licensed private investigator has access to records that aren’t readily available to the public. Moreover, the search techniques they employ are a lot more sophisticated.

When you need to locate the whereabouts of people that would instead not be easily found, it might be worth it to use SearchBug’s Assisted People Search service.

Reconnecting With Someone  

Now that you know how to find someone, let’s talk a little about reconnecting. After a successful search, it can feel amazing that you have the information to contact your friend or business associate. Celebrate your win and give yourself a pat on the back.

Before you contact them, pause for a bit and try to think of your next goals. Identify what your intentions are with awareness that your friend might not be in the same mental space as you.

Look at the situation from the perspective of your friend. Try to think of the reasons why you lost touch in the first place. It might even be possible that your friend isn’t expecting the two of you to get reconnected. Over the years, a lot of things have happened to your lives separately. It’s wise to take the next steps with care and caution, and with consideration to your friend’s experiences and current state.

When you send them an email or give them a call (depending on what contact information you find), you should be ready for all possibilities. The call may be a happy one, ending up in sharing your fondest memories together. In some cases, re-establishing the friendship may take time. Worst case scenario, it might not happen at all. Just be ready and accept things.

Whatever happens, remember that the search isn’t futile. It’s normal to feel that you want to reconnect and taking action is commendable. Now that you’ve learned how to find and reconnect with someone, don’t hesitate to start that People Search today and find people you want back in your life.