In 2020, Steam became a gaming platform that crossed 120 million users worldwide, according to Statista.com. Valve’s Steam is now a world-famous video game digital distribution platform that is still growing. This online hub allows you to claim games and share screenshots and user-generated game assets. You can only use the service’s unique features after signing and getting, and usually paying, for games. You may also add friends and enjoy multiplayer games together. This is excellent if you want to add another layer of excitement to these services. However, becoming friends with other users is not always possible. When this happens, you’ll be notified that Steam is not able to add friends.
At this point, you must wonder why. Well, the problem is that you cannot add friends if you haven’t paid for all the features or added funds to your wallet. Unsurprisingly, there are a plethora of other causes behind this issue. Thankfully, we will go through a handful of possible reasons and solutions you need to implement.
Reasons you get an error while adding a friend on Steam
Although the reasons for this problem on Steam will vary from person to person, there are a few possible causes of this problem:
- User is blocked — Keep in mind that you can’t add users as a friend if they’re blocked from your account and vice-versa.
- Limited User Account — For those who don’t already know, Valve has created a Limited User Account that cannot add friends. Adding someone as a friend is impossible without fulfilling the requirements for purchases we explained below.
- Too many friend invitations — Do not forget that Steam allows you to accept a limited number of friend requests.
- Technical Issues — The program may be sluggish at times, so it’s best to refresh it using a specific command that you’ll discover later in this tutorial.
- Other Steam features may hinder the process — In this situation, it’s best to look at the specific feature and perhaps disable it.
Whatever the reason is, there are specific solutions you can try at your end to fix the issue.
Methods to fix the issue with Steam not being able to add friends
There are five reliable solutions to the problems we already mentioned. You can follow the consequent method if the previous one doesn’t work out.
1. Check the Steam Blocked list
The first cause of the issue while adding a friend on Steam is related to a block list. After blocking a user on Steam, they’ll be unable to interact with you, whether via messaging or by trying to add friends. Thus, double-check that the player you want to add isn’t on your block list on Steam. Here is how you can do it:
- Click on your username.
- Select “Friends” from the top navigation bar.
- Select “Blocked” on the left navigation pane to view the list of all the blocked users on your account.
- Look for the intended person and remove their name from the list (if any).
- Save these changes and exit.
- Restart the Steam client.
2. Review your Steam account type
If you have a Limited Account, you’ll run into this problem if you haven’t made any purchases yet. This aligns with Steam’s policy that users may not add other people as friends unless they have made at least $10 worth of transactions. Limited Accounts, for example, do not provide access to all features accessible to regular accounts. If this describes you, you can quickly verify whether your account is limited by downloading an XML file that launches when logged in to Steam on your Windows 11/10 computer. Follow these steps to get it done:
- Log onto your Steam account then head over to the www.steamcommunity.com/profiles page.
- Press Ctrl + F keys and launch the search dialogue box after logging in.
- Type “limited” to see the “<isLimitedAccount>0</isLimitedAccount>”
The value 0 indicates that your account is unrestricted, whereas 1 indicates that your account is limited. If you have a restricted Steam account, you’ll need to make a purchase and try adding your friend again once you finish.
3. Check the number of friend requests on Steam
You may run into this problem because Steam limits the number of friends who can request to be added to your list. Thus, go to your friend list, look for any pending requests, and then accept or reject them to make room for new invites. Check the following:
- Follow the steps explained in the first method and go to the friend’s list.
- Check if you have pending invites, and sift through them to remove or add friends.
- Finally, restart your Steam client, and you should be capable of adding new friends on Steam.
4. Block and unblock your friend on the platform
Follow these steps to block, then unblock your friend via Steam desktop client:
- Go to the user profile of the person you want to try to add as a friend.
- Go to More and select Block all communication.
- Restart Steam.
- Go to the blocked list.
- Select the profile of the friend you just blocked.
- Choose More and Unblock All Communication.
- Restart the Steam client.
5. Verify Steam Community Privacy Settings
Steam has a setting that allows you to restrict who can send friend requests to you. You can follow the steps below to make sure that everyone can send requests to you –
- Open the Steam client on your computer and log in to your account.
- Then, click on your username at the top right corner.
- Select “Profile” from the drop-down menu.
- Click on “Edit Profile.”
- Now, find and click on “Privacy Settings.”
- Make sure the “Who can send me friend requests?” setting is set to “Everyone” or “Friends of Friends” if you want to receive requests from a broader audience.
- Review and adjust other privacy settings as desired.
- Finally, click “Save” to apply the changes.
6. Update Steam Client
Out-of-date Steam clients can sometimes retain bugs that might be affecting the friend requests. This is a rare scenario, however, you should make sure to update your Steam client following these steps –
- Click on “Steam” in the menu bar at the top left.
- Select “Check for Steam Client Updates.“
- Now, if updates are available, follow the prompts to download and install them.
- Restart the Steam client after the update completes.
7. Clear Steam Cache
You can also try clearing your Steam cache to make sure that it is not interfering with the friend requests.
- Close the Steam client completely.
- Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard.
- Type “Run” and press “Enter.”
- In the Run dialog box, enter “steam://flushconfig” and press “Enter.”
- Confirm any prompts that appear.
- Restart your computer and launch the Steam client and log in.
- Now, try adding friends again to see if the issue is resolved.
8. Refresh Steam (Last resort)
If none of the above-mentions methods has worked so far, there’s a final solution you can opt for.
- Exit all the processes belonging to the Steam client in Task Manager.
- Press Windows key + R to launch the Run Command.
- Type cmd and press Enter to open the Command Prompt.
- Type “steam://flushconfig” (without quotations) in and wait a few moments.
- Restart your PC.
- Once your system restarts, launch the Steam client. Doing so will revert all the previous actions and will let you add friends to Steam.