The Steam Chat feature isn't the Discord challenge Valve wanted, but it's much better than it used to be. A question that keeps popping up regularly is if you can send a message to someone on Steam who is not on your friends list. In chat, you must be a friend to be able to send messages.
Unless you are in a group with the person, you cannot send them messages. You can leave a comment on your profile page, but that only works if the profile is public. If it's set up for friends only, you won't be able to communicate there either.
This question often comes up when Steam users have beta codes or discount coupons, and offer them on the platform. In order to request one of these, you must respond in your forum post or contact them directly. Like most of us who have tried to get one of these codes, posting to the forum is usually too slow to get any code. It is much better to contact the player directly and ask him gently if they can choose him.
Send a message to non-friends on Steam
Messaging for Steam players who are not on your "Buddy List" is very difficult to do and almost non-existent. One way to send a message to a non-friend is to join a group of which he is a member and talk to him there. In the example above, if they were offering discount codes to Tropico 6, you could join a Tropico 6 chat group and search for the person there. The same scenario applies to any game on the platform.
Another exception to the no-friend rule is certain games that allow you to send messages to anyone through the server, like Valve's CSGO.
Be careful when using group chat features. If you have used group chat, you have probably received random messages from people who are not your friends. These are usually spammers or gold producers trying to sell you in-game coins or items. If you use the in-game chat method to send messages, prepare to be ignored, especially since they probably receive more of those spam messages than you do.
What can you do on Steam Chat?
While you can't send a message on Steam to someone other than your friend, you can do many other things with the new system. These are some of the new system features that you can try.
"Categories" is the new Label system, and it is a way to manage chat with friends more effectively. If you're lucky enough to have a lot of friends using Steam, it's worth ranking your list. You can divide them into larger games or categories like friends, family, and more.
You can add multiple friends to multiple game categories and generally sort your chats in a more manageable format.
"Favorites" is a similar steam organizing tool where you can make certain friends your favorites. So if you have a group and everyone is playing a new version you can bookmark them to make them easier to find. Drag and drop your chat profile into the "Favorites" bar to add them.
To remove someone from “Favorites”, right-click on their profile and select Manage, and then click “Remove from Favorites”.
The aforementioned “Group Chat” tool is a useful feature that allows you to set up groups for games, either to play together or just to chat about the game. You don't necessarily have to chat about the games, but that is your intention. You can select "Create a new chat", give it a name and add friends.
You can also send invitations to other players who play the game. They don't have to be on your friends list to join.
You have always been able to use Steam and appear offline, but now you can also have a conversation while in "Stealth Mode". This setup works the same way as before and gives you some time alone while playing. If you don't have the time or energy to chat with friends, or just want a secret session on your own before “grouping”, then you can claim invisibility.
Either way, you can use "Stealth Mode" by selecting your username in the upper left corner of the chat window and selecting "Invisible".
It is a "shame" and good that you cannot send a message on Steam to someone who is not your friend. While it sometimes gets in the way, it protects the community from many spammers, gold producers, and generally toxic teens using the platform. This scenario can mean that you lose one or two access codes, but it also means that you don't have to put up with a ton of spam comments!
As mentioned earlier, some games like CSGO by Valve offer in-game messages to non-friends on the server. Some games may add downloadable content (DLC) that adds a messaging function to the server. Therefore, it is not entirely accurate to say that you cannot send messages to non-friends on Steam.
Speaking of DLC, see what to do if your Steam purchased DLC doesn't install as it should.