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How to find and add friends on Facebook

Can I join your friends club?
By
July 12, 2022

Facebook is all about finding and adding your friends to your profile. So when you set up your account for the first time, it’s time to think of every single person you’ve ever encountered in your entire life, figure out their name, and start looking for them on Facebook. After all, don’t we want to see if the school bully is now a fast-food worker? Here’s how to find and add friends on Facebook.

Read more: 10 best third-party Facebook apps for Android

QUICK ANSWER

To find someone on Facebook, start by adding their name to the search engine, and click People to only get people. If there are too many results, you can filter by country, city, education, and workplace. Once you've found the person, you can either send them a friend request (which they must approve) or follow their public posts (which don't require approval).


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to find friends on Facebook

Of course, the easiest way to find someone on Facebook is to ask the person for their profile link. But obviously, this is only feasible if you are in touch with the person. If you have lost contact with the love of your life from 30 years ago, and you want to reconnect, then you will have to search for that person. Remember, though, that the more common the name, the harder it will be to find them, and that’s assuming they still have the same name and live in the same place. People do get married and move away.

Start by logging into Facebook and entering the person’s name into the search engine. If the person’s name is Ronald Quackyduckie, then there will likely only be one result, and your search is over. But if you’re unlucky enough to be searching for John Smith or Mary Jones, then you’re going to have your work cut out for you.

So let’s look for our old distant buddy, John Smith. After entering his name into Facebook, you get a lot of results, unsurprisingly.

facebook find add friends

The results are categorized in the menu on the left. To get people, click People. This narrows it down a little bit. It also brings some more options in the left menu. Friends of friends, City, Education, and Work. Even though it says City, you can also insert towns and even villages in here if Facebook has a record of them.

facebook add friends search results people filter

This is where you need to up your game because a common name is not going to be enough. You need another piece of information. Start by entering their last known location. If that doesn’t work, try entering their school or last known workplace.

After that, it’s a case of scrolling through the results and hoping your friend has put a picture on their profile to provide a perfect match. If you can’t find them, see if their parents or siblings are on Facebook. They could point you in the right direction. It’s very rare that somebody completely drops off the map (unless they’re in witness protection.)

How to send a friend request on Facebook

Once you’ve found the person, click on their name in the search results. When you arrive on their page, you will hopefully see this.

facebook add friend button

I say “hopefully” because you can actually disable this button in the profile settings to prevent nuisance friend requests. Assuming your friend hasn’t disabled theirs, click the button. A notification will now be sent to them that you want to connect. Once they approve, you will be notified back. However, if they don’t approve your request, you will not be notified.

If the Add Friend button is gone, you can either send them a message using the Messenger button and request to be added from their end. Or you can click the three horizontal dots below and select Follow.

facebook follow

This enables you to see their public posts and doesn’t require approval from the other person.


Read more: How to unfriend someone on Facebook

FAQs

Most likely because they have disabled the Add Friend function in their profile settings, or they have limited it to Friends of Friends. In this scenario, you would have to reach out to them via Messenger and ask them to send you a friend request from their end. But if they’ve gone to all the trouble of switching the function off, they are not likely to respond to your request, unless they know you well.

They could have locked down their privacy settings, or changed their name and/or location. They may not have enough information on their Facebook profile to return accurate results when you search. Their profile may not have a picture of them, making it impossible for you to know it’s them. The more common the name of the person, the harder it is to narrow down the search.

Facebook is constantly using its algorithms to make connections between you and other people, to determine “who you may know.” Part of this is based on who your friends know, and Facebook assumes you know these people too as a “mutual friend”. To see Facebook’s suggestions, go here.

Click here and select the small blue View sent requests link at the top left of the side menu.

Go to the Facebook profile page of the person in question. The Add Friend button will now be replaced by a Friend Request Sent button. Click it to cancel the friend request. If the text on the button reverts back to Add Friend, then the cancellation has been successful.

You can hide your friends list from other people by tweaking a privacy setting. Read how to do it here.

Lock down your privacy settings. In this link, scroll to How people can find and contact you and How you get message requests. Click the Edit link next to each option and limit who can contact you.