How To Send a Message on Steam to Someone Who’s Not Your Friend

Posted by Jamie on April 9, 2019

The new Steam Chat feature introduced last year isn’t quite the Discord challenger Valve wanted but it is much better than it used to be. One question that still pops up regularly is whether you can message on Steam to someone who’s not your friend. In the old chat, you have to be a friend to be able to chat. Is it the same with the new version?

Yes it is. Unless you’re in a group with them. You could leave a comment on their profile page but that only works if the profile is public. If it’s set to friends only, you won’t be able to communicate there either.

This question often comes up when Steam users have beta codes or discount vouchers and offer them on the platform. To be able to ask for one of these, you either have to reply in their forum post or contact them directly. As most of us who have tried getting one of these codes knows, posting on the forum is usually way too slow to actually get a code. It is much better to contact the player direct and ask very sweetly if they could pick you.

Send a message on non-friends on Steam

Your only option in this kind of situation is to join a group they are a member of and talk to them there. In the example above, if they were offering discount codes to Tropico 6, join a Tropico 6 chat group and look for them there. The same for any game on the platform.

Be careful when using this group chat feature though. If you use group chat already, you will likely already have experienced random messages from people who are not your friend. These are usually spammers or gold farmers trying to sell you in-game currency or items. If you se the game chat method, be prepared to be ignored as they may get more of those spam messages than you do.

What can you do on Steam Chat?

While you cannot send a message on Steam to someone who’s not your friend, you can do a lot of other things with the new system. Here are a few of the new features of the system that you may like to try.


Categories are the new Tags and are a way to manage chat friends more effectively. If you’re fortunate enough to have enough friends who use Steam to require categorization, this could be useful. You can split them into games, or wider categories like friends, family and so on.

You can add multiple friends to multiple game categories and generally sort your chats into a more manageable format.


Favorites is a similar organizational tool where you can make certain friends favorites. So if you have a group and you’re all playing a new release you can add them to favorites so they are much easier to find. Drag and drop their chat profile into the Favorites bar to add them.

To remove someone from Favorites, right click their profile and select Manage and Remove from Favorites.

Group Chat

The aforementioned Group Chat is a very useful feature that lets you set up groups for games either for playing together or just chatting about the game. You don’t have to chat about games but that’s their intent. You can select Create a New Chat, give it a name and add friends you want to chat with.

You can also send invites to other players who play the game to also join chat. They don’t necessarily have to be in your friends list to be able to join.

Invisible Mode

You have always been able to use Steam and not appear online but now you can have chat open in Invisible Mode too. This works much the same as before and gives you some alone time while playing a game. If you don’t have the time or energy to chat with friends or just want a secret session on your own before you group up go Invisible.

Either way, you can use Invisible Mode by selecting your username from the top left of the chat window and selecting Invisible.

It is both a shame and to the good that you cannot send a message on Steam to someone who’s not your friend. While it does get in the way at times, given how many spammers, gold farmers and generally toxic teenagers use the platform it is perhaps a good thing that Valve have kept chat controllable in this way. It might mean you lose out on an access code or two but it also means you don’t have to put up with a ton of spam comments!

Do you know of any way to send a message on Steam to someone who’s not your friend? Any new features of chat that you particularly like or dislike? Tell us your thoughts below!

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