Back in the day, Facebook users could easily interact with each other one-on-one based on similar interests and other profile information, such as political beliefs, hobbies, or favorite music. You just typed in the kind of people you wanted to meet—for example, single mothers in your neighborhood who like to knit—and presto: an immediate list of prospective friends, replete with a built-in conversation starter.
You may still look for like-minded people on Facebook—after all, it’s one of the reasons the site is so popular—but the site has altered the method you search in order to avoid becoming a big spam free-for-all. Instead of the advanced search function you were previously using, Facebook now provides four new methods to discover like-minded members:
Suggestions from friends As you may have discovered, Facebook recommends people you may like to be friends with based on factors such as your profile information and the friends you already have. Follow the steps in Finding People Who Are Facebook Members to view these recommendations.
How To Make New Friends On Facebook
If you want to meet other history lovers or gardeners (or anybody else interested in any subject or activity), Facebook’s old Groups are a great place to start. To look through old Groups, do the following: Type the subject you’re interested in into the Search box at the top of any Facebook screen, and then click the “See more results for [topic]” link that appears. To limit your results, click the Groups link on the left side of the search results page that displays.
Look for keywords.
Searching member information for a particular phrase or term, wherever it occurs, is not for the faint of heart (the expression “searching for a needle in a haystack” comes to mind). Still, depending on the subject or activity you’re looking for, it may provide excellent results. The more unique the subject or activity, the more likely you are to find what you are searching for. To find out more about a member, use the following search terms: Type what you’re searching for into the Search box at the top of any Facebook page, then click the magnifying glass icon on the right side of the box. Click the People link on the left side of the search results page that displays.
If you decide to do a keyword search, be prepared for a deluge of results. Remember that Facebook returns results regardless of which member detail matches your term or what words or phrases surround it. For example, a search for “bears” yields both the man who formed “Citizens Against Bears” and the woman who selected “The Zygote Bears” as her favorite band, among a billion other results. Select Location, Workplace, or School at the top of the search results page, put in your criteria, and then click the Filter button to narrow your search to Facebook users who reside in a certain city, attend a specific school, or work at a specific business (based on their Facebook profiles).
Applications for third-party search. If you can’t locate what (or who) you’re searching for using Facebook’s search, you may use a search application (see Facebook Applications: An Overview for the scoop on Facebook applications). To locate a search application, use the following steps: Type search in the Search box at the top of any Facebook screen, then click the magnifying glass symbol, and then select the Apps link on the left side of the page that displays.
The quality of Facebook apps varies, and they all appear and function somewhat differently. So, after you’ve found one that seems intriguing, spend a few minutes reading its reviews and experimenting with it to see whether it works for you. Turn to Chapter 13 to learn more about Facebook apps.
Inviting Others to Be Your Friends
You can’t simply add individuals to your friend list at random; they must be Facebook users who accept to be included. (Finding People Who Aren’t Facebook Members shows how to ask people who aren’t on Facebook to join the site.) To add someone as a friend on Facebook, do the following:
Find the person you wish to befriend (see Finding New Friends).
If you send a friend request to someone who can’t normally see your profile—for example, someone who isn’t in your network—Facebook temporarily grants that person access to the basic, work-related, and education-related sections of your profile (Viewing Your Profile) so she can make an informed decision about whether or not to accept your invitation.
If your search results in the person you’re searching for, click the “Add as Friend” option to the right of their profile image. Alternatively, click the person’s name or image to learn more about her, and then click the “Add as Friend” option at the top of the prospective friend’s profile page. If you can’t locate the person you’re searching for, you may ask her to join Facebook (Finding People Who Don’t Have Facebook Accounts).
Add As Friend
If you don’t see the “Add as Friend” option, it’s because the person you’re attempting to befriend has changed her privacy settings to reject friend requests (see Chapter 14 for details).
Fill out the confirmation box that appears, and then press the Send Request button. Facebook offers you the option of adding a note with your request in the confirmation box; just select the “Add a personal message” link. You may also see the following options: If you’ve made any Friend Lists (see Organizing Your Friends), you may add the individual to one by clicking the “Add to List” button (assuming she accepts your request). And, if you’ve linked your phone to Facebook (see Setting Up Facebook Mobile), you may switch on the “Subscribe through SMS” option to get that person’s updates via SMS.
After you click Send Request, a Friend Request Sent dialog box appears, informing you that Facebook has sent an invitation to your prospective friend’s email address and posted a friend request to her Facebook Home page (Viewing Your Facebook Home Page).
If you’re new to Facebook, the Friend Request Sent dialog box may offer friend recommendations (friends of your soon-to-be-friend) for you to think about. If you’re interested, click “Add as Friend,” or Close if you’re not.
If the person you’re extending a virtual hand of friendship to is new to Facebook, Facebook shows a list of your existing friends after you submit the friend request, just in case you wish to invite them to join you in extending their virtual hands.
While you wait for your friend to respond, a “Friend Requested” button substitutes the normal “Add as Friend” button next to her name in your search results, and when you visit her profile, a “Awaiting friend confirmation” label appears next to her name. If your buddy accepts the friendship and replies through email or Facebook (Finding People Who Are Facebook Members), Facebook adds your name to her friend list and her name to yours. Facebook will also send you a Notification (see Customizing Your Mini Feed) informing you that she has confirmed the friendship.
Note: Facebook does not allow users to expressly refuse friend requests in its desire to promote acceptable social interactions, although they may ignore them. If you’ve issued an invitation and haven’t heard back after a few days, try messaging or poking the individual (Poking). Still no response? Sorry, but you’ve been passed over.
Answering Friend Requests
When you try to add someone to her buddy list, two things happen: Facebook sends you an email invitation and publishes a little notification on your home page informing you that you have a new friend. You have two options at that point: confirm the request or dismiss it, either on Facebook or directly in your email program.
Email Request Confirmation
If you check your email every hour (or every 5 minutes) but only log into Facebook every couple of days, you should manage friend requests from inside your email software. Here’s how it works:
- Check your email inbox for a message with the subject “[Someone] wants to be Facebook friends.”
- Click the green Confirm Friend button or the confirmation link in the message. This takes you to the Facebook page, where you may confirm your friendship, as described in the next section.
Facebook Request Confirmation
Some individuals use Facebook every time they sit down in front of a computer. If you’re one of them, responding to friend requests from your Facebook Home page is much more convenient than opening your email program and sifting through your inbox for invites. To confirm a friend request from inside Facebook, do the following:
Click the Friend Requests button immediately to the right of the word “Facebook” at the top of any Facebook page. The symbol resembles the heads and shoulders of two little humans (hover your cursor over the icons to see what each one is called). A red symbol will appear above it, showing the number of friend requests you have. When you click it, it brings you to the Confirm Requests page on Facebook.
Friend requests may also be found in the upper-right corner of your home page, under Requests. (If you don’t have any friend requests, none will appear under Requests.) To see them, just click the “friend request(s)” link.
Confirm that you wish to accept the request by clicking Confirm. You are now Facebook friends with that person if you click Confirm. Isn’t it simple?
Note: If you’ve never heard of the person who sent you the friend request, the message he sent doesn’t make sense, or the two of you have no friends in common, you should probably click the person’s name and check out his profile (and perhaps send him a “Do I know you?” message by clicking the Send Message link beneath his profile picture) to make sure the request is legitimate.
One Last Thought
To see which friends, you and your new friend share, Facebook displays a “[number] mutual friend(s)” box.