Jun 02, 2020 11:18 AM EDT
How to find Lost Colleagues Years After Graduation?
After graduating from high-school or college, most people will go their separate ways. Regardless of all the promises of remaining friends no matter what, we lose touch. Life gets in the way, we get jobs, we get married, we have children. If you have lately found yourself wondering what happened to your best friend or roommate from college, you are not alone. The good news is, the power of technology makes it a lot easier to find them. These are some useful ideas for your search.
The easiest way to find someone is to use a service such as CheckPeople.com. They will gather and organize information so you can easily get back in touch. Their comprehensive and reasonably priced service is definitely the best place to start, but there are other options.
People and Institutions in Common
Another very simple idea is to check with other friends. Maybe someone knows something or can offer some leads as to where your friend may be or how their life has changed. Contact alumni associations and check if they know something else.
Have you tried a Google search? You might be surprised by how much information you can find about a specific person. If a simple name search does not give you what you want, consider adding search terms, such as name + school name, or name + location. You can even try a reverse search through google images using a picture of the person you are trying to find. Remember that there are other search engines such as Opera, Safari, or Firefox. Information may be banned from one, but appear on the other.
If search engines prove useless, try social media. Most people will have social media profiles, and the most popular one continues to be Facebook. As of 2012, Facebook offers a service called "Friends Reunited," that cross-checks information about schools, employers, and memories in order to find someone. This is especially useful when your friend may have changed names after marriage or uses an alias on the site. LinkedIn can also be helpful, as most people list the places where they have studied. It's even better if you have any information about where your friend has worked over the years. Some schools offer private social media platforms for their former students, as well as job boards with professional profiles.
Do you know what your friend majored in? You may try to connect with professional associations in their field. Although most of them protect their member's privacy, you may be able to find out if they are indeed members, or get their professional contact information.
Make it Easy for them to Find You
While you need to protect your private information, you may want to post publicly on social media and explain that you are looking for a friend. There is a lot of power in viral posts, and they may even reach them in other countries. There are several stories of people reunited after one of them shared a post on Facebook, so there's no harm in trying. Also, you may want to leave your contact information at your alumni association -and permission to disclose it-, in case they are also looking for you.
Classified Ads and Obituaries
While this may seem very old school, it has proven successful for many people, especially if who you are looking for is over the age of 60. Try running a few ads on local newspapers, and maybe someone will come forward with valuable information. Craigslist is a great resource too. Searching obituaries is no fun, but you may get something that, either puts you in the right direction to continue your search (such as the death of parents or other relatives) or gives you closure.
When Someone Doesn't Want to be Found
If you've tried everything without results, there is a chance that your friend does not want to be found. We live in a time in which we need to be extremely careful if we don't want our information to be displayed online. If there is indeed nothing about your friend online, it may be a clue that tells you you should respect their privacy and their wish to remain anonymous. You never know the reasons behind a decision like this, but you may even be putting them at risk if you insist.
Protect Yourself From Scammers
If you suddenly get a private message of your "friend," but there is no profile picture, or they don't seem to remember important facts about your friendship, it may be identity theft. Elderly people are especially at risk. Never agree to disclose your social security number, bank information, or other sensitive data. Always try to verify that someone is who they say they are before engaging in further conversations. Never agree to send money or buy gift cards. For more information on internet fraud, visit this website.
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