In Part One of this series we defined success in finding a particular subject as locating and contacting the subject. The most common reason for that a search is unsuccessful relates to the failure to find the subject. However, if you find your subject the job is only half done. You still need to contact your subject. If you are serving a complaint of subpoena to need to make contact in order to have successful service. If you want to interview the person, you need to contact and hope they will talk with. Those are situations in which you “need” find and contact your subject. In those cases, how badly you need that person will determine how much time and money you are willing to expend to get the job done.
In one case, I had to contact the subject’s friends in the United States and then contact him in the minefields of Kenya. In that case, we were fortunate that he was a very cooperative witness.
If your search is of the “want” variety your decision may be quite different. Finding old friends, associates, classmates, comrades in arms or lovers generally falls into the “want” category. Though you may find them and try to contact them, they may not be responsive to your overtures. The reasons for not responding to your attempts to re-establish contact are pretty reasonable and should be understandable.
They may wish to leave the past in the past. They have moved on and like where they are. Maybe they moved on and they are embarrassed about where they are. Either way, they want to leave the past right where it is.
What you think of as the good old days, really weren’t so good for them and they don’t want re-visit memories that aren’t too pleasant to recall.
Perhaps they thought you were a butt-head when they knew you and they are trying to live as butt-head free as possible. If you broke up with them, they may still think you’re a jerk.
Maybe they are just lazy and they keep forgetting to get back to you.
Whatever the reason is, you need to respect it. If they are important enough for you to want to reach out to them, then they are important enough to have their privacy respected.
If you are certain that you located the person you are looking for and they don’t get in touch with you, the search wasn’t a total loss. At least you know they are still out there kicking and you know where they kicking.
There is probably a thin line between legitimately trying to reconnect with someone and becoming a stalker. No one should want to knowingly or accidentally cross that line. Knowing where the line is becomes the challenge. I suspect the placement of that line varies from person to person. I suggest that my students follow the Three Strike Rule.
In California we have the Three Strike Rule that involves sentencing criminals who have been convicted of a three or more felonies. When it comes to contacting people you “want” to get in touch with I suggest applying a Three Strike Rule as well.
If you contact a person three times (regardless of what means you use) and you don’t hear back from them, let it go. Don’t become upset or insulted. Respect the fact that they must have a good reason and let it go. You wouldn’t want to be hounded by someone you really don’t want to get back in touch with, so treat the subject of your search with the same respect you would hope that others would show you.