How To Add Friends On Duolingo (And Why You Might Not Be Able To)

Do you know how to add friends on Duolingo?

Duolingo has always had a decent social element, and it’s been growing recently with the introduction of friends quests and other social features.

However, a lot of users encounter difficulties when trying to add friends, and it’s not always clear as to why this is.

In this article, I’ll walk you through how to add friends on Duolingo, before shining a light on some of the common issues that may arise.

Let’s get into it!

This page may contain affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission for any sign-ups or purchases made, but at no extra cost to you. Learn more

How to add friends

So long as your account is active and open, it’s generally really easy to add friends on Duolingo.

And by add friends, I mean ‘follow’ other users. We’ll get to the difference between friends and followers in a second!

But first…


To add friends on mobile, the easiest way is to tap your profile icon…

Then, tap the big ‘add friends’ button…

You then have a few options. You can either:

  • Find friends from your device’s contact list
  • Connect to Facebook and sync your friends list (you’ll need to login to Facebook and grant the necessary permissions)
  • Invite friends to join Duolingo by sending invites out over WhatsApp, text message, or any other messaging app of your choosing…

You can also add friends that Duolingo recommends to you in the friend suggestions list.

Alternatively, if you know the email address, name or username of the person you want to add, you can just type it into the search bar…

Once you find a user you’d like to add, simply tap the blue ‘follow’ button…

This will then change to ‘following’ and they will appear in your Following list…


The process is pretty much exactly the same on desktop so I won’t go into too much detail!

First, select your profile from the menu…

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and select either ‘find friends’ or ‘invite friends’…

You’ll notice the options are pretty much exactly the same. The only difference is it doesn’t sync with your contacts like it does on mobile…

However, if you’ve previously synced your mobile contacts with the Duolingo app, then the suggestions will still appear when you’re logged in on desktop.

Friends, Following and Followers

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between friends, users you’re following, and users that follow you on Duolingo.

They all fall under the ‘friends’ heading, but all three have different meanings.

When you follow a user, that user will appear in your Following list…

When a user follows you, they will appear in your Followers list…

For a user to be your friend, you will both need to be following each other.

The best way to confirm this is to check your lists. If a user appears in both your Following and Followers lists, then that user is a friend.

And, if you’re both using Duolingo on a mobile device, then you will be able to participate in friends quests together!

Why you might not be able to add friends

Over the years, many users have encountered issues when trying to add friends on Duolingo.

In theory, adding friends is really straightforward. But when it doesn’t work, it can be really frustrating, as sometimes it isn’t obvious why it’s happening!

I’ve done some digging and below I’ve put together some of the most common reasons for not being able to add friends.


If you’re part of a Duolingo classroom, then you might find that you’re not able to add friends.

This is usually to do with restrictions that the head of the classroom places on the group.

Unless they decide to change these restrictions, you may need to leave the classroom if you want to be able to follow other users.

Age restrictions

Another common reason you might not be able to add friends is your age.

If you’re under the age of 13, and this is the age you’ve used on Duolingo, then you may run into difficulties.

Similarly, you won’t be able to follow a user that is 13 or under.

Privacy settings

If your Duolingo profile is set to private, then you won’t be able to follow other users.

A lot of users do this because they don’t want to participate in the weekly leagues. This is fair enough, but one thing they don’t account for is that they’ll lose their ability to follow other users!

To check your privacy settings, you’ll need to log in to your account on desktop, open your profile, then select ‘privacy’. Make sure there’s a tick next to ‘Make my profile public’…


If you don’t use Duolingo regularly, then Duolingo will mark your account as inactive.

For some reason, when this happens, you’re not able to follow other users.

It’s an easy fix though apparently. All you need to do is complete a lesson, and your profile will be marked as active again.

If this is the reason you weren’t able to add friends, then wait 24 hours before trying again and the issue should be sorted.

Following too many users

Finally, if you’re following too many users already, then you may not be able to follow any more.

Currently, you’re only able to follow up to 1000 other accounts. Once you hit 1000, Duolingo removes your ability to follow any more accounts.

The solution here is pretty obvious: if you want to follow another user, you’ll need to unfollow someone to make space!

For more walkthroughs and explanations, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

You might also be interested in some of these guides:

How to change your Duolingo app icon

How to remove a language course on Duolingo

Duolingo friends quest – everything you need to know