A while back, I worked part-time for an alumni association that was trying to track down old alumni and solicit them for donations.
It’s a process really. Here’s how I did it and how you can find someone’s email address.
(Please don’t be a stalker. That’s just rude, really – she’s just NOT that into you alright!)
This is the most important step in finding a lost friend’s e-mail address. Recall what you can about them – Interests, last known location, hobbies – anything whether you think it is relative or not. Oh yeah! Relatives are a good one to write down too, if you know them.
Just-Being-Friendly Search Zone
Contact any mutual acquaintances you and the lost friend may still have. One of them might have the e-mail address you need. In that case, your search is over! If not, then they may be able to provide you with more up-to-date information. Maybe they bumped into the friend at the mall over Christmas and found out they have moved to another state.
You could try searching social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, but let’s assume you are lazy or efficient, or both. Then you would use search engines that search a bunch of social networking sites, like Spock, Pipl and 123people. Some more people search engines were mentioned in our recent article 15 Websites to Find People On The Internet.
Remember to search on name variants too. They could be going by Richard instead of Dick now. Or maybe they have got married and have a new last name. Lots of women seem to be listing maiden and married names on these sites. Not that I’ve noticed……
As an adjunct to these I’ve used both Bigfoot Directories and My Email Address Is with good results. These are both free sites – I prefer My Email Address Is since it checks 4 different directories at once. I even found some of my old e-mail addresses.
If you have their e-mail address now, send them a short, but sweet and polite, e-mail re-introducing yourself. Don’t go into your life story, because you may have the wrong person. Just write something like:
Hello, I’m looking for an old friend by the name of John Smith. I went to Riverdale High School with him in 1953. Are you him? If not, please excuse me. If you are, I would like to renew our acquaintance, if that’s okay with you.
If you haven’t found an e-mail address for your friend by now, stop and ask yourself if maybe they don’t want people e-mailing them out of the blue. To go beyond this point is borderline-creepy. I understand if it is something of an emergency, like an old mutual friend is ill, or there’s a big 20th reunion, but make sure the reason is right.
Borderline-Stalker Search Zone
Still hunting, huh?
It’s time to Google then. Start by searching out their name and variations of their name. No cigar? Then you can search websites that the person is likely to be a member of. Let’s say he used to be a big computer geek. You might start searching through sites like Slashdot or Digg. There’s a good chance they joined a forum and may have their e-mail address listed there.
Still no luck? Wow, you’re persistent. Do you have a rare blood type because going any further with your search takes you into the….
What?!-Do-You-Need-a-Kidney-Transplant?! Search Zone
Let’s assume you know roughly where your donor, I mean friend, is living and you think you know what line of work they are in. Maybe they live in Redmond and are a computer geek. You might start searching Microsoft’s site for the e-mail address. At this point you are pretty much a stalker. Just so there’s no confusion here – you have crossed the line.
The e-mail isn’t there, but there is a reference to him in some obscure knowledge base article. Now, Stalker McStalkyPants, you can look at other e-mail addresses on the website and see if there is a naming pattern. Maybe it’s first initial and last name, like firstname.lastname@example.org. Put your friend’s name into the same format and send them an e-mail. Be polite and not too overbearing. You don’t want to ask for the kidney at this point. See if they want to talk to you first. You are dangerously close to living on weekend passes here.
If you haven’t found the e-mail address yet, just give up. Please. It’s so creepy now, I need to take a shower in Listerine.
Best of luck on your searches and I hope the surgery is a success.
Got any other creepy-but-legal methods to find long lost friends, or people of the same blood-type? Did you ever manage to find someone’s email address by searching online? Share them here!