How To Make The Most Of Facebook Messenger

I'll admit that when Facebook Messenger came out, the very first thought that popped into my head was, “Why?” Separating out the messaging function of the app into an entirely different app made no sense to me — but though it seemed like madness at the time, there was, as they say, method in't: These cool things you didn't know Facebook Messenger could do probably wouldn't have worked very well had they just been rolled into the existing Facebook app. Messenger is an impressive little program all on its own, and for it to truly shine, it needed to stand on its own two feet.

Oh, and hey, guess what? You don't even need Facebook to use Messenger. Bustle recently spoke to a Facebook spokesperson about how to make the most of the Messenger app, and this is just one of the little tidbits we discovered. To use Messenger, all you need is a phone and a phone number. One you download Messenger, you can begin using it by selecting the “Not on Facebook?” option, signing up with your name, adding your phone number, and uploading a photo. Easy peasy!

These other five tricks were also new to me. Did you know Messenger can do all this?

1. Help Your Friends Find You in a Crowd

Trying to meet up with a bunch of people in a confusing public space? Just tap the “More” button (the one that looks like three dots” or the location icon at the bottom of the screen. If you want to, say, meet up at a nearby bar or restaurant, all you have to do is search for the restaurant, then send your pals a map of where it is. You can also use it to let your friends know exactly where you are if you're running late to meet them. Handy, no?

2. Pay Your Roommate Back For That Slice of Pizza She Bought You On Friday Night

Don't have Venmo? Not a problem. Within a conversation, tap the $ symbol at the bottom of the screen, type in the amount of money you want to send over to your buddy, and add your debit card info. When your friend adds her debit card info, she'll get a cash out within three days of receipt. It's fast, secure, and a heck of a lot easier than trying to break a $20 to pay some back for a two-dollar slice.

3. Have a Voice Chat or a Video Call

Monstrously expensive long-distance phone calls really have become a thing of the past, haven't they? Thanks to the Internet, we can not only talk to, but actually see someone living on the other side of the world, and we can do it pretty inexpensively, too. And you know what? I had no idea Messenger could be used for this purpose — but I do now. Within a conversation, just tap on the phone or video icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen to open a voice chat or a video call with your long-distance pal.

4. Get Speedy Customer Support

Some brands and business have integrated Messenger to allow for fast and easy access to customer support. Exactly what that integration means will vary from business to business, but here's an example: Online retailer Everlane features Messenger on its checkout page. If you decide to opt in, you'll get push notifications that will allow you to access your shipping info, modify your order, or place another order within the Messenger app itself.

5. Mute a Conversation — Or Leave It All Together

This feature probably isn't a surprise — it's one of the best parts about private messages accessed on Facebook itself — but you can mute notifications from conversations that are getting a little too busy for you, or opt out entirely if you don't want to be a part of it anymore.

To mute a conversation, just tap the name or names at the top of the message; then when the drop-down menu appears, tap “Notifications.” From there, you can mute notifications either for a specific amount of time (15 minutes, an hour, eight hours, or 24 hours), or for the rest of time. You can turn notifications back on later if you like.

To leave a conversation, open the same drop-down menu you did to mute notifications, then scroll down to the bottom of it. Tap “Leave Group,” and you'll gracefully exit the conversation.

Now go off and message like a pro!

Images: Giphy (5)