How to Add Anyone to Facebook Messenger

You don't even have to be Facebook friends first

Illustration of a person adding friends to Facebook Messenger on a smartphone

Lifewire / Julie Bang

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world, and it's a great free tool to get in touch with people quickly.

Despite its popularity, adding people to Messenger can be confusing, especially someone who isn't already a Facebook friend.

Luckily, there are five different ways to add anyone to Messenger.

Illustration of a person adding friends to Facebook Messenger on a smartphone
Lifewire / Julie Bang

The information here applies to Messenger on iOS and Android devices. We've indicated when there are differences.

You're Already Friends on Facebook

Facebook friends are automatically added to the Messenger app when you sign in to Messenger with your Facebook account login details. To start a conversation with a Facebook friend in Messenger:

  1. Open Messenger.

  2. From the Chats screen, tap the Compose Message icon on the top right. (This is shown as a square with a pencil in iOS apps and a pencil in the Android app.)

  3. Type or select a contact's name.

  4. Type your message in the text at the bottom.

  5. Tap the Send icon.

    Facebook Messenger App sending a message

You're Not Facebook Friends, But They Use Messenger

If you're not already friends on Facebook but you both use Messenger, exchange username links so you can communicate on Messenger. To send your username link:

  1. Open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top left corner of the screen.

  2. Scroll down to find your username link.

    Two screenshots of the Messenger app for iOS.
  3. Tap your username link and then tap Share Link from the list of options that appears.

  4. Select how you want to share your username link (text, email, etc.) and send it to the person you want to add on Messenger.

  5. When your recipient clicks on your username link, their Messenger app will open with your user listing and they can add you immediately.

  6. The recipient would then tap Add on Messenger and you will receive a connection request to add them back.

They're Stored in Your Device's Contacts

Sync your mobile contacts with Messenger to communicate with them in the app. To do this, turn on Contact Uploading in Messenger.

  1. From Chats, tap your profile picture in the top left corner.

  2. Tap People.

  3. Tap Upload Contacts to turn on continuous uploading of your mobile contacts.

    Two screenshots of the Messenger app for iOS.

If you turn off Upload Contacts, the contacts you've uploaded to Messenger will automatically be deleted

You Know Their Phone Number

If you prefer not to sync your contacts with Messenger, or you have someone's phone number written down, but they are not stored in your device's contacts, add them to Messenger with their phone number.

The person must confirm their phone number in Messenger for you to be able to add them as a contact via their phone number.

  1. From Chats, tap the People icon in the bottom menu.

  2. Tap the Add People icon in the top right of the screen.

  3. Tap the Add button (plus sign).

  4. When prompted, select Enter Phone Number.

    Two screenshots of the Messenger app for iOS.
  5. Enter their phone number and tap Save. You'll be shown the corresponding Messenger user listing if Messenger detects one from the phone number you entered.

  6. Tap Add on Messenger to add them. 

Meet Up in Person

If you're with someone and you want to add each other on Messenger, use any of the above options or take advantage of Messenger's user code feature (Messenger's version of a QR code), which makes adding people in person quick and painless.

  1. Open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top left corner.

  2. Your user code is represented by the unique blue lines and dots that encircle your profile picture.

  3. Have your friend open Messenger and navigate to the People tab.

  4. Have your friend tap the Add icon (plus sign) in the top right followed by the Scan Code button.

    Two screenshots of the Messenger app for iOS.

    They might need to configure their device settings to give Messenger permission to access the camera.

  5. Have your friend 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.