How to Add Anyone to Facebook Messenger

Add people to Messenger even when you're not Facebook friends

Facebook Messenger
Photo © S3studio / Getty Images

Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging platform in the world (closely tied with WhatsApp), which makes it one of the best tools for getting in touch with people fast and for free.

Despite the popularity of Messenger, adding people to the mobile app can be pretty confusing to figure out all on your own. This is especially true in situations where your trusty Facebook friend list doesn't already bring you and other people together automatically on Messenger.

Luckily, there are five different techniques you can use to add people to Messenger—and no, you don't have to be Facebook friends first! Check them out in the list below.

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When You're Already Friends on Facebook

Facebook Messenger
Screenshots of Messenger for iOS

Before we get started on explaining how to add non-Facebook friends to Messenger, let's just touch on how to find current Facebook friends on Messenger first. If you're new to Messenger, you might need a little help figuring out how to start chatting with your existing Facebook friends, which are automatically added to your Messenger app when you sign into it using your Facebook account login details.

Open Messenger and tap the People button in the menu at the bottom of the screen. Your Facebook friends will be listed in alphabetical order by last name on this tab. You can also switch between tabs to see all your contacts and who's currently active on Messenger.

Scroll through the list to find the friend you want to start chatting with or use the search bar at the top to type in a name to quickly filter through friends. Tap the name of the friend to open a chat with them.

Note: If a friend is not currently using the Messenger app, an Invite button will appear to the right of their name, which you can tap to invite them to download the app. Regardless of whether you invite them to download the app, you can still chat with them and they will receive your message when they log into 

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When You're Not Facebook Friends, But They Use Messenger

Facebook Messenger
Screenshots of Messenger for iOS

If you're not already friends on Facebook (or even if one of you simply don't have a Facebook account), you can still add each other if one of you sends their user link to the other by email, text message or any other form of communication of your choice.

To find your username link, open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top left corner of the screen. In the following tab that opens, your username link will appear beneath your profile picture and name.

Tap your username link and then tap Share Link from the list of options that appear over the screen. Select the app that you want to use to share your username link and send it to the person you want to add on Messenger.

When your recipient clicks on your username link, their Messenger app will open with your user listing so they can add you immediately. All they need to do is tap Add on Messenger and you will receive a connection request to add them back.

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When You Have Them Stored in Your Device's Contacts

Facebook Messenger
Screenshots of Messenger for iOS

The contacts you keep in your device for calls and text messaging can be synced with Messenger so you can see exactly which of your contacts are using the app too. There are two different ways to do this.

Method 1: Sync Messenger With Your Device's Contact List
Open the app and tap the People button in the bottom menu, tap Find Phone Contacts and then tap Sync Contacts from the popup menu options. If this is your first time doing this you will have to give Messenger permission to access your contacts.

When Messenger has finished syncing, you'll be shown whether any new contacts have been found. If new contacts are found, you can tap Contacts Found to see who was automatically added from your contacts to Messenger.

Method 2: Manually Pick from Your Device's Contact List
Alternatively, you can navigate to People tab and tap the plus sign (+) button in the top right corner. Then tap Pick from Your Contacts from the list of menu options that pops up.

Your contacts from your device will be listed and you'll be able to scroll through them or search for a particular contact to see if they're on Messenger. You can manually add whoever you want by tapping Add on Messenger.

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When You Know Their Phone Number

Facebook Messenger
Screenshots of Messenger for iOS

So maybe you don't have you don't have someone's number stored in your device's contacts, or you'd rather not sync your contacts with Messenger. If you at least have their phone number scribbled down somewhere or memorized, you can use it to manually add them to Messenger—as long as they've confirmed their phone number on Messenger.

In Messenger, tap the People button in the bottom menu and tap the plus sign (+) button in the top right corner. Select Enter Phone Number from the list of options that pop up and enter the phone number into the given field.

Tap Save when you're done and you'll be shown the corresponding user listing if Messenger detects one from the phone number you entered. Tap Add on Messenger to add them. 

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When You Meet Up in Person

Facebook Messenger
Screenshots of Messenger for iOS

Last but not least, it can be a little awkward when you're trying to figure out how to add each other to Messenger as you're standing there physically together in person. You could certainly use any of the methods explained above—or you could just take advantage of Messenger's user code feature, which makes adding people in person quick and painless.

Simply open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top left corner of the screen. On the following tab, your user code is represented by the unique blue lines and dots that encircle your profile picture.

Now you can tell your friend to open Messenger, navigate to the People tab and tap Scan Code (or alternatively tap the plus sign (+) button in the top right and select Scan Code from the menu list of options). Note that they will be able to switch between My Code and Scan Code tabs to quickly access their own user code as well. They might need to configure their device settings to give Messenger permission to access the camera.

All your friend has to do is hold their camera over your device with your user code open to automatically scan it and add you to Messenger. You'll receive a connection request to add them back.