How to Add Friends on Steam

Can't find your friends? Here's where to look

Adding a friend on Steam isn't a difficult process, but you can run into a few problems along the way. If you have a limited account, you can't send friend requests. If you don't know your friend's exact Steam profile name and can't find their account on the service, you may have difficulty adding them.

How to Add Friends on Steam

You can add a friend on Steam through one of three methods:

  • Find them through the search function on the desktop app, website, or mobile app.
  • Use Facebook.
  • Send an invite link.

The first two options allow you to send a friend request that your friend will see the next time they log in to Steam. The third requires you to send a link to your friend through email, text message, or the chat app you use to keep in touch.

You can't send friend requests on Steam until you buy a game or add funds to your Steam Wallet. New accounts are locked into a limited state until a small amount of money is spent. If you want to add friends before buying anything, ask your friends to send you an invite link.

Search for Friends on Steam Using the Desktop App or Website

The Steam desktop app is virtually identical to the Steam website, so you can add friends using the one you prefer. The Store tab in the app corresponds to Steampowered.com, which is Steam's online store. The Community tab corresponds to Steamcommunity.com, which is Steam's online community portal.

Here's how to find and add friends on Steam using the desktop app or the Steam Community website:

  1. Open the Steam desktop app or navigate to Steamcommunity.com.

  2. Place the mouse cursor over your username in the menu bar.

    The username menu on Steam
  3. Choose Friends in the drop-down menu that appears.

    Select Friends from the menu
  4. Select Add a Friend.

    Click Add a Friend
  5. Select Go Search.

    Click Go Search
  6. Type your friend's name in the search field.

    Enter your friend's ID in the search box
  7. Locate your friend in the search results, then select Add As Friend.

    Click Add as Friend
  8. Select OK.

    Your friend must accept the request before they appear on your friends list.

    The OK button
  9. Steam users can change their profile names at any time. If you don't see your friend in the search results, make sure they haven't changed their name recently.

Add Friends on Steam With the Mobile App

The Steam app, which is available for Android and iOS, offers most of the same functionality as the desktop app. Some things are in slightly different places, but you can still accomplish most of the same tasks, including adding friends.

Here's how to add friends using the Steam mobile app:

  1. Launch the Steam app.

  2. Tap Friends.

    If the app opens on a screen other than your profile, first tap the (three vertical lines) icon, then select You & Friends > Profile. If you go directly to your friends list on this step, you won't see the option to add friends.

  3. Select the Your Friends drop-down arrow.

  4. Tap Add a Friend.

    The Add a Friend command
  5. Scroll down to the Search for Friends section.

  6. Tap Go Search.

  7. Type your friend's name.

  8. Locate your friend in the search results.

    Searching for a friend in Steam
  9. Tap Add as Friend.

  10. Tap OK.

    Your friend won't appear in your friends list until they accept the request.

    Adding a friend to Steam

Connect Facebook to Find Friends on Steam

Steam features Facebook integration, which allows you to find and add your Facebook friends on Steam. If you can't find a friend on Steam or have several people you want to add at once, this feature can help you find and add them.

Here's how to use Facebook to find friends on Steam:

  1. Open the Steam desktop app or navigate to Steamcommunity.com.

  2. Place the mouse cursor over your username in the menu bar.

    The username menu on Steam
  3. Choose Friends.

    Select Friends from the menu
  4. Select Add a Friend.

    Click Add a Friend
  5. Select Sign in to Facebook.

    The Sign in to Facebook button
  6. Enter your Facebook login details, then select Log In.

    If prompted, enter your two-factor authentication login code, then select Continue.

    The Facebook sign-in page
  7. Look for the Friends on Facebook section. If you have any Facebook friends who you aren't already friends with on Steam, they appear here.

    The Friends on Facebook section

What to Do When You Can't Find Friends on Steam

Finding and adding friends on Steam doesn't always work as expected. Steam has a few quirks about how it treats usernames that can make it tough to find friends. If the database goes down, it can become impossible to find who you're looking for. When that happens, you have to wait for Valve to fix the problem.

When you sign up for Steam, you create a username that you use to log in to the service. This primary username isn't the same as the username that people see in games or when you post in Steam community groups. You can change your profile name whenever you want, which can create confusion when someone tries to add you as a friend.

To make it easier for people to find you, set a custom universal resource locator (URL) name that's the same as your Steam ID or account name.

Your Steam account has four names associated with it:

  • Steam Account Name: The username that you use to log in to your Steam account. You can't change it.
  • Steam Profile Name: The name that appears on friends lists, in games, and in the Steam community. You can change this name.
  • Real Name: Using your real name helps your friends find you in search. You can put anything you want, though, and you can change it at any time.
  • Custom URL name: A name you set on your profile. If you set it to the same thing as your profile name, people can navigate to Steamcommunity.com/id/yourprofilename to find you.

When you search for someone on Steam, you can use their Steam profile name or their real name, but you won't find them if they changed either to something else.

Steam keeps a partial record of past profile names and provides an abbreviated list in the search results. However, you need to search for your friend's current name if you want to be sure to find them.

Here are some things to try if you can't find or add your friends on Steam:

  • Make sure that you type their current Steam profile name.
  • If their current profile name is different from their Steam account name, search for their account name. This idea is more likely to work if their account name and custom URL name are the same.
  • If you know the name your friend uses for their profile (real or otherwise), you can search for that.
  • If you still can't find your friend on Steam, make sure they have set up their Steam profile.
  • Generate and send a Steam friend invite link if you still can't find or add them.

Ask Your Friend to Set up Their Steam Profile

If your friend is new to Steam, or they haven't set up their profile, you may not be able to find them using the search function. Ask them to open the Steam client, or visit Steamcommunity.com, and set up their profile.

It can take a while for new Steam members to show up in searches, so you may have to wait until the database updates. If you don't want to wait, you can try a few other methods to add a friend on Steam.

Send Your Friend a Steam Invite Link

The easiest way to add a friend on Steam, other than finding them with the search function, is to generate an invite link and give it to them. This process requires some communication between you and your friend outside of Steam since you'll need to send them the code in an email or a chat app like Discord.

You generate Steam friend invite links on the same page where you access the friend search function. Here's how to find the right location and generate an invite link:

  1. Open the Steam desktop app or navigate to Steamcommunity.com.

  2. Place the mouse cursor over your username in the menu bar.

    The username menu on Steam
  3. Select Friends.

    Select Friends from the menu
  4. Select Add a Friend.

    Click Add a Friend
  5. Select Create an Invite Link.

    The Create an Invite Link button
  6. Select the link and copy it, or choose Copy to clipboard to the left of the link.

    A Steam invite link
  7. Send the link to your friend.

  8. When your friend clicks the link, it opens the Steam website. After they log in, they see a banner message near the top of the page. If they select Add as Friend in the message, Steam adds each of you to the other's friends lists.