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Find Old Friends

Looking to find old friends? Read on.

Online phone directories and social communties can help their users find old friends. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Online phone directories and social communties can help their users find old friends.

A person can find old friends by using a variety of methods both on and off the Internet. With a few pieces of basic information -- such as a person's old mailing address, phone number, email address or full name -- it's possible to dig up old acquaintances in online directories, search services and social communities. The process may be time-consuming, but it can be extremely rewarding, even for relatively young people who have only recently moved away from their home towns or transferred schools.

Online Phone Directories

One of the easiest ways to locate old friends is to search online phone directories, which contain recent contact information and are currently free to use. The following Web sites provide searchable phone directories:

  • The White Pages offers searches by name, address, phone number, area code, business and zip code
  • 411.com offers searches by name, address or phone number
  • Number Way offers searches for international phone numbers, in addition to those in the U.S. and Canada.

Internet Search Engines

Search engines like Google and Yahoo allow one to search on any search terms including the name of a person, last known phone number or address and other pertinent information known about the person. If the person had a Web site, there may be more information on that webpage, including current contact information. Although many people do not have personal homepages indexed on these major search engines, they are free to use, so they make a good starting point for an Internet-based people search.

Email Database Searches

Email directories allow a person to conduct a search based on whatever information they know about their old friends, such as full name. If the email is registered, it may return the listing, according to Email Addresses. Another way to use email directories is to enter the person's last known email address. This may yield current information on the person, such as a new email address or even a phone number or physical address. While there is a charge to use some email directories, they may offer significant information not found in an unpaid search.

Online Social Communities

Online social communities like MySpace and Facebook are two of the best and fastest-growing ways to find old friends (especially those who are computer-savvy). Their directories can be searched by person's name, age, email address or high school class. Of course, the person must already be registered with the community; however, since each of these sites has many thousands of members, it is worthwhile to check them for old friends. Membership is free, but users must register before being able to search for other members.

Military and Scout Associations

Both the military and the scouts have established organizations that allow their former members to stay in touch and make new friends. Scout Mates provides searches for past scouts and even offers online chat rooms where members can communicate and share memories. Likewise, Military.com provides a people search for current and ex-military personnel.

Paid Searches

When other avenues have been exhausted, it's possible to find old friends with search organizations that charge for their services. These companies can provide detailed reports including the person's current name, address, phone number and location history. The price for one report varies according to the search, but many companies offer a discount for multiple reports purchased at the same time.

Other Web sites that offer paid search services are community sites like Reunion.com and Classmates.com. These sites allow people to join for free, but their membership privileges are limited. In order to take full advantage of their databases, members must pay a fee and subscribe to the complete service.

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