Facebook doesn’t like it when you make too many friend requests at once. Trying to expand your network too quickly could get you blocked from adding more Facebook friends. Maybe it already happened to you, and you can’t friend someone on Facebook?
On Facebook, innocent mistakes and ignorance of essential Facebook etiquette can lead to consequences like these. But with our tips on how to manage Facebook friend requests, you can avoid facing unintentional punishment or lift an existing block and continue making many new friends.
How to Add Friends on Facebook
Here is a little refresher on the basics of adding friends for those of you not too familiar with Facebook. Everyone else, please skip ahead.
When logged into Facebook, you can find your pending friend requests under Menu (3×3 dots icon) > Friends. Facebook no longer highlights pending friend requests, but you will see a note in your Facebook notifications.
On your Facebook Friends page, you’ll see a summary of pending friend requests and a list of people you may know in the left-hand sidebar. Click a person’s name on the left to see their full profile on the right.
Select Confirm to add a friend or Delete Request to deny the request. The sender won’t be notified.
How to Send and Cancel a Friend Request on Facebook
You can also search for people you know, open their profiles, and, if they accept friend requests from the public or friends of friends, add them by clicking the Add Friend button located right next to the Message button.
To cancel a friend request, go back to their profile, click that same button, which now reads Cancel Request.
You can also remove a friend via your Friends list. Facebook does not notify people if you remove them. However, it is possible to track your Facebook friends with third-party tools and receive alerts when people remove you. An example of such a tool is Who Deleted Me.
Unfollowing vs. Unfriending
Rather than unfriending people who are flooding your News Feed with silly posts, try unfollowing them instead. That way you can maintain your sanity, without risking the loss of a friendship. For more information, read our primer on following and unfollowing on Facebook.
From your News Feed (Home) find a post from your overactive friend, click the arrowhead in the top right to expand the post menu, and click Unfollow. If you think the hyperactivity is only temporary, you can also snooze their messages for 30 days.
Alternatively, head to your friend’s profile, expand the menu right next to your friendship status, and select Unfollow from the bottom.
Unwritten Facebook Friend Request Rules
Now that you understand the basics of how to add friends on Facebook, let’s review some finer details of managing Facebook friend requests.
1. Only Add People You Know
Facebook only wants you to add people you know in real life. If your friend requests frequently remain unanswered or even if just one person reports your friend request as unwanted, Facebook may conclude that you have sent friend requests that violate its Community Standards.
Consequently, Facebook might block you from sending friend requests for some time.
To avoid being blocked from adding friends, make it easy for people to recognize you. Here are some guidelines:
- Use your real name and set a genuine profile photo.
- Try to add only people with whom you have mutual Facebook friends.
- Send your desired contact a message introducing yourself before you add them.
In other words: don’t look like a fake account, don’t add random strangers, and don’t be a stranger yourself.
2. Add Friends Conservatively
You will often want to add a new friend immediately, even though you don’t have mutual friends on Facebook. And it might be more awkward to send a message first than to add them directly. That’s cool.
Just be sure you don’t add too many people without common friends at once simply to expand your Facebook reach.
If you don’t know someone, but just want to know what they post to Facebook, and if there is an option to follow them, rather choose the follow option. This allows you to see what they are up to, but your timeline is not shared with them.
3. Report Spammy Friend Requests
When you delete a friend request, Facebook promises that the sender won’t be notified. But they might send you a new request. If you can’t get rid of them, you can use either the Find support or report offline or Block options, available from the three-dot menu, to prevent further friend requests from that person.
Use the first option to report fake accounts, strangers, or people who harass you.
Keep in mind that if you do this, the person may be penalized.
4. Review Friend Requests You Have Sent
Feeling self-conscious about maybe having sent too many friend requests yourself? Go ahead and double-check.
Go to Friends > See All > View Sent Requests. From here you can cancel pending requests.
5. Block Friend Requests From Strangers
Facebook allows you to restrict who can send you a friend request. Not setting that limit is an open invitation for anyone to request your friendship.
If you’re receiving too many friend requests from strangers, here’s how you can stop it.
Expand the Account menu (arrowhead icon) in the top right and click through to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Privacy. Under How People Find and Contact You find the Who can send you friend requests? option and click Edit. Your choices are Everyone or Friends of friends.
6. Hide Your Friends List
Allowing everyone to see who you’ve friended could cause some people to be jealous and subject your friends to unsolicited friend requests. It’s best to restrict who can see your Friends list and friend activity.
To hide your Friends list, head to How People Find and Contact You on your Settings page. Find the option Who can see your friends list? and click edit.
Here, you can further refine your privacy settings by choosing who can see your Friends list.
You can also access all friends-related settings from your (existing) Facebook friends page. From your profile page, click See All Friends, then click the three-dot menu next to Find Friends and choose Edit Privacy.
Why Can’t I Friend Someone on Facebook?
If you can’t seem to friend someone on Facebook, here are the most likely reasons…
1. You Sent an Unsuccessful Friend Request
You already sent a friend request, and it’s either still pending or the recipient deleted it. Now the Add Friend button doesn’t show up, so you can’t send a new friend request.
If your request was deleted, Facebook has blocked you from sending that person another friend request for one whole year. The only way to get around this is to ask the other person to send you a friend request.
If your request is still pending (follow our instructions under “Review Friend Requests You Have Sent” above), you could send your friend-to-be a message and ask them to approve your request.
2. You Blocked the Other Person
You can’t friend someone you’ve blocked. See if you can unblock them and then try sending a new friend request.
3. They Don’t Permit Friend Requests From Strangers
As outlined above, Facebook allows you to restrict who can send you a friend request. If that’s the reason you can’t friend someone, ask them to send you a friend request instead.
4. Someone Has Too Many Friends Already
Neither you, nor your friend-to-be, can have more than 5,000 friends. If one of you has crossed that limit, you can’t send each other friend requests.
If you have too many friends, consider turning your account into a Facebook Page.
5. Facebook Blocked You From Sending Friend Requests
This can happen if you send too many friend requests at once, have many unanswered friend requests, or if several people marked your requests as spam.
According to the Facebook Help Center, Facebook cannot lift a block early, but fortunately, it’s only temporary and will expire within a few days.
Follow our guidelines above to avoid this from happening again.
Master Your Facebook Friendships
Friend requests on Facebook remain awkward. Whether you add your best friend, someone you know from school, your mom, or your boss, as far as Facebook is concerned everyone is a “friend.”
However, Facebook does acknowledge various levels of friendship. After all, you can sort your friends into close friends, family, acquaintances, or any other custom list you create.
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock
You can use a simple URL to see the friendship and relationship history between you and others on Facebook.
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