Finding Someone on Skype

<h2>It pains me to admit it, but I’m not the only person in the world called David Leonard.</h2>

Skype logo 2

A search for my own name on Skype produced over 100 results. If I was looking for myself (no, I am not having an identity crisis) then I would need some more information.

Skype Search Box
The search box appears below your name and profile picture at top left.

You can try several things to narrow down the search, but what works will depend on what the other person has entered into their Skype profile.

The information that the other person may have entered includes:

  • Skype Name
  • Name
  • City
  • Country/region
  • Email address(es)
  • Mobile phone
  • Home phone
  • Office phone

I don’t know whether if searching for someone would produce results based on their gender, birthday or “about me” information (which may also appear in the profile).

So, to find someone on Skype so that you can connect with them, go to the search box on the main Skype page and enter one or more pieces of information. For example:

  • email address – this is good as all email addresses are unique, so any result should be the person you are looking for. On the other hand, it may not find the person you are looking for if they have only entered a different email address in their Skype profile.
  • Skype name – this is good because it is unique. There can’t be two people with the same Skype name. On the other hand, you may not know their Skype name (do you know your own?)
  • Phone numbers – again, this has the same advantages and disadvantages of an email address in that Skype can only find numbers entered into the other person’s profile. Also there are some complications regarding formatting of the number.

My telephone number is entered in my profile as “+447961387564” (the complete number including country code, and dropping the leading zero).Searches on my phone number gave the following results:

  • 07961387564 – no results found
  • 7961387564 – my details – and no-one else’s – found
  • 447961387564 – my details – and no-one else’s – found
  • +447961387564 – my details – and no-one else’s – found
  • 61387564 – someone in Bosnia-Herzegovina found, but not me (this was a search on a random part of my phone number)

So, it’s not as straightforward as you might imagine!

One thing that can help is if the person you are looking for has included a profile picture. At least, it might help if you are less optically challenged than I am. I find most “profile pictures” on social media totally unrecognisable because they are too small, fuzzy, dark, or light. I like to think my own “DL” logo in green is more recognisable. Of course, you can always totally undermine the purpose of profile pictures by doing what thousands of other people do and load an image of your cat (because what the internet really needs is more pictures of cats).

Skype - Give Wave
Skype’s infantile “Give wave” button that you have to click on to make a first contact with someone. They then accept or reject you.

And just to add one more complication. Suppose you have someone’s Skype details in your Skype contacts but you can’t seem to get through to them any more (and you know it used to work some time ago). You’ve checked with them that they are still “on Skype” and have been assured that their Skype is open for business on their computer or device.

Here’s something that’s worth checking. The other person may have created their Skype account before Microsoft bought Skype. They might have then created a Microsoft account after Microsoft bought Skype. Microsoft would then create a new Skype account, with a Skype name they make up. It is quite possible that the person you can not contact any more is unwittingly signed in to this second Skype account. Once you recognise the problem it is easy to resolve as the “correct” Skype account still exists. Just get the other person to sign out of the wrong account and into the right one.

And I can vouch for all this out of personal experience. Thank you, Microsoft. Once I discovered what had happened in my own case, I removed my logo, email address and phone number from the “wrong” account so that it wouldn’t appear in search results. I chickened out of deleting the account in case it broke my Microsoft account. I think a braver person could have unlinked and then deleted the Skype account without breaking the Microsoft account, but sometimes you just don’t feel like antagonising the cyber gods. We’ve got enough problems in the world just at the moment.

(Last updated 09/07/2021)