Why is the “add friend” button not showing on Facebook?

It may come as a surprise to you that Facebook is approaching two decades of existence, after launching in 2004.

Back then, the likes of Myspace, Piczo and Bebo were the most popular social media platforms around but it didn’t take for Facebook to blow all three out of the water.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and remained the most popular social media platform in the world, currently boasting an unbelievable 2.9 billion active monthly users.

Connecting with people on Facebook is a simple process, you just have to send another user a friend request and wait for them to accept.

However, what do you do if the option to add them isn’t there and what does it mean? This is what we’ll be focusing on in this article so read on if you’re facing this issue.

Why can’t I add someone on Facebook? The most likely explanation

If you have gone on to a Facebook user’s profile with the intention of adding them as a friend only to find that the option isn’t there then the most likely explanation is to do with their privacy settings.

When it comes to Facebook’s privacy settings, each user has a whole host of options available to them and one section revolves around who is allowed to add you.

When it comes to this section, users are able to either select ‘everyone’ as in every registered Facebook user will be able to add you or ‘friends of friends’ which means only those users with mutual friends on the platform can add you.

If you are trying to add someone who has no mutual friends with you then it is likely that they have that the latter setting selected.

If you really want to add them, then it may be worth sending them a message through Facebook Messenger asking them to temporarily change their privacy settings to allow you to send a friend request.

Alternatively, they could add you instead to get around the barrier, so you could ask them to send you a friend request instead.

If you are interested in changing your privacy settings to enforce this rule yourself, then please follow these instructions:

  1. Log on to your Facebook account via the Facebook app.
  2. Select the three lined icon on the bottom right hand side of the app.
  3. Select ‘settings and privacy’ and then ‘settings’.
  4. Scroll down to the ‘Privacy’ subsection and select ‘privacy settings’.
  5. Scroll down to the ‘how people can find and contact you’ subsection and select ‘who can send you friend requests?’
  6. From here you are able to either select ‘everyone’ or ‘friends of friends’.

Other reasons why you can’t add people on Facebook – you’ve been blocked

Despite someone’s privacy settings being the most common reason why you can’t add them on Facebook, there are a few other possible explanations.

If you are trying to find someone on the app and can’t even locate their profile to try and add them, then it may well be because the person in question has blocked you on the platform.

If someone has blocked you on the platform then you will not be able to interact with them in any way.

This includes viewing their profile, posts, friends list, pictures and everything else you can think of on Facebook.

Facebook doesn’t allow the ability to see who viewed your profile either, so it can be difficult to tell if someone is blocked.

Although there is no fool proof way to find out if you’ve been blocked, if you can’t locate their profile but know they are on Facebook then it is safe to assume that is what’s happened.

Other reasons why you can’t add people on Facebook – you’ve blocked them

You’d be surprised with how many people you’ve blocked on Facebook over the years, and in some cases you may have even done it unintentionally.

After all, friends fall out all the time and what better way to show them that you’re annoyed than to block them on Facebook?!

If you are struggling to locate a certain profile to add them as a friend, then it is well worth checking your block list to see if the account in question is there.

To locate your blocked list on Facebook, please follow these steps:

  1. Log on to your Facebook account via the app.
  2. Select the thee lined icon on the bottom right hand side of the app.
  3. Select the ‘settings and privacy’ tab and then ‘settings’.
  4. Scroll down to the ‘privacy’ subsection and select ‘blocking’.

From here, you will have access to a list of every account that you have blocked on the app.

If you want to unblock someone to re-add them as a friend simply select ‘unblock’ and then search for them as normal on the Facebook search bar and send them a friend request.


All things considered, there are a few different reasons why you may struggle to add certain users on Facebook.

Although the most common reason is down to privacy settings, don’t rule out the issue of blocking – either from their end or yours. It’s important not to harass people online, so if you are blocked then we would urge you to respect that person’s wishes and not try and find a way to add them.

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Andy is a Professional Content Editor with expertise in a whole host of areas (or so he tells us anyway). His main interests are sports, tv/film and social media. He has reviewed over 100 apps so far for Apps UK.

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