How to Open a Chat on Facebook

by Lara Webster
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Facebook chat is a way to privately interact with your friends in real time. Instead of sending a private message to a friend and waiting for her to respond, initiate a chat conversation when she is online. Facebook chat sends messages in just an instant, and show you when your friend is actively typing a response to you. When you receive an incoming chat conversation, a small window will appear at the bottom of your screen.

Step 1

Check your chat status on the Facebook homepage. Go to the bottom of the left-hand toolbar--if you are online, the thumbnails of friends available for chat will appear. If you are not online, click the "Go Online" link.

Step 2

Click on the "Chat" icon in the bottom right-hand corner of any Facebook screen.

Step 3

Look for friends with a green dot next to their name. These friends are online and actively available for chat. A friend with a moon next to his name is online but idle, meaning he is not actively navigating on Facebook, so he may not respond to your message.

Step 4

Click on the name of a friend in the list. Click on the text field at the bottom of the chat window that opens.

Type your message and hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard.


  • Chat in a separate window by clicking on "Chat," going to the "Options" menu and clicking on "Pop-Out Chat."
  • If you have created multiple friend lists, you may go online for each list individually by clicking on "Chat" and then clicking on the circle next to a list. You are online when the circle slides to the left and a patch of green appears beneath it.

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