How to manage your Facebook friends

Too many friends on Facebook? Follow our tips and tricks for deleting and blocking those annoying posters – and how to find new ones.

One of the best things about Facebook is the way it lets you stay in touch with your friends and family, be it sharing photographs, chatting or just liking each other’s posts.

But if you aren’t strict with your friends list, it can soon become unmanageable and you may be sharing more information than you planned with people you barely know. Luckily Facebook has plenty of features that can help.

[Read more: You can now send money via Facebook Messenger to your friends]

If you are confused by a friend request, not sure whether to block someone or just want to find a better way of managing your contacts, we’ve got the answers.

Finding friends and friend requests

How to find people you know and deal with awkward friend requests.

Finding friends

facebook

Search for friends by typing their name into your search bar.

The results displayed will be those with some sort of connection to you – perhaps mutual friends or places you have been.

To find more people click See all.  

Along the top look for the search categories and click People which helps to narrow the search down. 

Sending friend requests

Sending Friend requests

When you find someone you want to be friends with head to their page and click Add Friends.

The option may not be there if they have strict privacy settings (see Manage your friend requests below)

A request will then be sent to this person, if they accept they’ll appear in your friend list.

Ignoring friend requests

Ignoring Friend requests

If you get a friend request from someone you don’t want to be friends with there are several options.

You can either ignore them, in which case they’ll just remain in your Friend Request page (you’ll need to be logged into Facebook to follow this link). At any point you can go in and confirm the request.

Or you can tap Delete Request. Don’t worry, the person who receives it won’t be informed if you do this.

Manage your friend requests

facebook

To avoid receiving friend requests from strangers, right-click the drop-down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page and select Settings.

Go to Privacy on the right-hand side and under How people can find and contact you select Who can send you friend requests? and click Friends of friends.  If you do get a request from someone you don’t like or don’t know, simply hit Ignore.

People you may know

Facebook - people you may know

You’ll notice in the right-hand column a box called People you may know.  These are not people that have sent you friend requests. This is basically suggestions from Facebook based on other friends, where you work and so on.

Click Add Friend to send a request, or click the cross to remove them

Click See All to see the full list.

[Read more: 12 ways to protect your Facebook privacy]

Controlling which friends see your posts

There are occasions when you’ll only want a few people to see your post – perhaps it’s something personal or not suitable to share with work colleagues.

Post to selected friends

post status

Update your status as normal and tap the drop-down arrow next to Friends, select More and click Specific friends. 

Or click  Friends except... and do the same.

Remember to change it back to post to all friends.

An alternative to this is to use Lists, which we’ll cover below.

Friend lists

Many people have numerous friends, ranging from those close to someone you met once on holiday 10 years ago.  A useful way to organise them is to use Lists.

By default Facebook has three options. Adding people to these lists determines how often they appear in your timeline.

  • Close Friends – those you want to see more of in your news feed and you’ll get notified when they post (see Controlling Close Friends notifications, below)
  • Acquaintances – those people you don’t need to stay close to and who they won’t appear very often in your feed
  • Restricted – those who can only see your Public content.  Once people are in this list they won’t see status updates visible only to Friends.

Creating friend lists

facebook friends

1: To create a list, log into your Facebook home page, look for Friend Lists in the left-hand column.

You’ll see a list of your current lists, in the screenshots we’ve chosen to explain using Close Friends, but the same process also works for Acquaintances and Restricted.

Creating friend lists 2

On the next screen, click Add Close Friends/ Acquaintances/Restricted and enter the name of the person you want to add. Click Finish when you are done.

Posting updates to Lists

post friends

You can posts status updates to people in these lists. Click the drop-down arrow and Close Friends/ Acquaintances/Restricted from the list.

See also Post to selected friends above.

Viewing Close Friends/ Acquaintances/Restricted friends in a feed

View Close Friends in a feed

Once you’ve created a Close Friends/ Acquaintances/Restricted list you will be able to select it from the left-hand column on your Facebook homepage. Just click Friend Lists and select the list. You’ll be able to view a feed just containing people on this list. 

Within this page you can also post to Close Friends/ Acquaintances/Restricted lists by clicking Update Status.

Controlling Close Friends notifications

By default, once you set up a Close Friends list you’ll automatically receive notifications every time someone in the list posts a status update, a link, an invite or a photo to Facebook, which can be annoying.

notifications

 

Click on the drop down arrow in the top right hand corner and click Settings. 

Click Notifications in the right-hand menu and then switch Close Friends activity on or off. 

Getting rid of friends

We’ve all got Facebook friends who fill our feeds with photos of their children, their amazing fitness feats or personal information. Fortunately, there are ways to hide their updates.

Unfollowing people

Unfollow Facebook friends

When you unfollow someone their updates don’t appear in your feed.

Head to their profile, and next to Follow there should be a tick. Click it and the icon will change to indicate that you are no longer following them.

They’ll still be able to follow you and see your updates.

Unfriending

Facebook unfriending

If you want to unfriend someone, head to their profile page and click on the drop-down list next to Friends and select Unfriend.

They will have to send you a friend request to be your friend again.

Blocking

If there’s someone you want to avoid contacting you the best thing to do is block them. They won’t be notified of this, but they won’t be able to start conversations with you or see your posts and vice versa.

Facebook blocking

1: Click the drop-down arrow on the top right menu bar and select Settings.

Select Blocking on the left and under Block users enter the name of the person you want to block.

Facebook blocking

2: Select the person from the Block people and click Block on the right. Once they are on the list they can’t see what you post, add you as a friend or invite you to events.

For privacy tips check out our article: Facebook privacy - how much information are you giving away.

[Read more: What is Facebook Watch - Everything you need to know]

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