It was quite challenging to find old college friends in the good old days. Your options were slim, usually coming down to taking out a classified or perusing the heavy, dusty phone directory. In fact, your only hope may have been a reunion party.

While we still have these options, Google, social media, and specialised platforms have helped make finding old college friends quite simple and, perhaps most importantly, free. People search engines have simplified searches incredibly. Here are the 5 best ways to find your old friend – we promise at least one of them will work.

1.    Search Google

If your college friend has risen to prominence or was featured in the news, they will definitely be on Google. This is why the search giant should be your first step in the process. You might find them just by looking up their full name if it is an unusual one. However, common names require additional keywords. Try their job, hobbies, interests, or names of their spouse or children where applicable. You could also try the company they last worked for. It’s best to use variations of these keywords.

Google has a reverse image search option you might find helpful. It could yield results if you manage to come up with a photo of your old friend. The search feature looks for similar photos online and links to where they were retrieved from. This can bring you one step closer to your goal.

Click on the camera icon in Google images, then on “Upload an image.” Choose the photo and press the button “Search by image.” This will prompt Google to look for the same or similar photos.

2. has been online for almost two decades. It has more than 5 million members around the world. Finding someone in its database is very likely. The three-step registration process is simple and registration is free.

The final step is seeking and joining an organisation. This can be a company, a college, a school, or another establishment. You can specify the organisation search by country. The site will yield a long list of results. You could search with a term specific to your organisation instead of entering its name. You might do this if your school or college name is a very common one.

You can search for people by name once you are in. Don’t forget to search by maiden name for women. Your friend might have tied the knot since college.

Alumni acknowledges that sometimes people are seeking an old friend desperately. There is a bulletin board on the site where you can post a message.

You must provide additional information while registering. You also have to invite at least two people to the site, which some see as a disadvantage.

3.    Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can offer a wealth of useful information. Facebook is well worth trying as it alone has over 2 billion users. If the person’s profiles are private, they won’t appear in the search. We recommend you start with Facebook. Just type the person’s name in the top search bar. You can scroll down the list, depending on how many results you get. Don’t look at the names only. You should pay the images more attention.

If they don’t appear by name, try a nickname they loved or another word you associate with them. To narrow your search down, go to the top menu and click on People. This way, you customise the search by workplace, education, location, or mutual friends.

4.    On That Note

Get in touch with mutual friends or acquaintances. Ask them when they’ve last seen or talked to your friend. Ask about personal details, like a phone number or an email address. If you keep an old address book, look through it for any connections to the person that you may not remember.

5.    Use a People Search Website

Some search services are quite impressive. You can try Pipl, ZabaSearch, Check People, peekyou, Intelius, Spokeo, or radaris. You’ll find each site has different information. Piecing together the data might help you find old college friends.