How to View Your Non-Reciprocating Contacts in Flickr

I CANNOT believe you don't have me marked as a FRIEND drama'

th.omas giveth what flickr taketh away.

About 20 months ago, when Flickr rolled out their new “contacts” pages, they crippled a key part of the software that had been requested by many users — the ability to see who your non-reciprocating contacts were. At present Flickr will show you who calls you a contact. And they will show you who you call a contact. And they will show you who calls you a contact that you don’t back.

But they won’t let you see who *you* call a contact but who does *not* call you one back (or maybe who *used* to call you a contact but who has since dropped you when you weren’t looking).

Apparently the ability to view non-reciprocal contacts was built into the beta version of Flickr’s contact screens, but was removed when Flickr staff felt that it caused too much “drama.”

From Flickr Staffer Dunstan Orchard:

th.omas: “A missing feature I’d like to see is a list of all my contacts who do not call me one of their own…”

That was in the original build, but in beta testing threw up all kinds of “I CANNOT believe you don’t have me marked as a FRIEND!!” drama. It was quite amazing.

After a while we all agreed it was a feature that did more harm than good, so it got the chop.

(As a minimum we try to have new features on Flickr not cause actual crying and yelling. I think that’s an acceptable baseline to work from.)

Well if you want this data from your contacts screen there is now an easy way to get it. Just install th.omas’ alpha version of the Flickr Non-Reciprocal Contacts Finder greasemonkey script. You can get the script here.

The script didn’t work for me on Chrome when I tested it out. But it seemed to work flawlessly using Firefox. Basically it takes your current contacts screens and turns anyone who is not reciprocating red.

Non-Reciprocal Contacts Appear in Red'

Why is this important you might ask? Well one reason why is that Flickr currently limits you to 3,000 non-reciprocating contacts. After this you can no longer add any more. So if you’ve reached that limit (or want to manage staying under it) it may be helpful to be able to easily review and identify who these people are that flickr is currently hiding from you to protect you from the “drama” and all.

Or you just may want to know which of your so called friends really love you and which ones secretly hate you or your photography. 😉

Anyways it’s nice to see a work around out that gets around Flickr’s limitation here. Beware though. They always could kill the ability for this script to work. So if you want to go through your contacts and identify which are non-reciprocal ones, you might want to do it sooner rather than later.


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  1. RuanNiemann says:

    🙁 maybe one day Thomas will add me as a contact too..

    sniff sniff

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Ruan, you dork.

    I just checked.

    You are already a contact and a *FRIEND* as well. That’s like being a super contact of mine. 😉

  3. Rob-L says:

    Very helpful. I just axed a bunch of selfish bums! 😉

  4. I’ve always been happy to be included as one of your friends Tom.

    On an unrelated note… Chicago was great but, where is St. Louis on your list? 🙂

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    Bryan, I’d LOVE to come to St. Louis. Boston is next in October. I’d love to do Route 66 and hit St. Louis as part of that. Hard to get that much time off work though. Hopefully someday soon! 🙂

  6. th.omas says:

    Remember folks, this is ALPHA so please let me know if you find any bugs. If you’re really going to start axing people just because they didn’t add you back, or especially if you decide to talk to complain to them about it, investigate first. Honestly the only reason I wrote this is for anybody who hits the 3,000 contact limit and *needs* to remove some contacts. I’m only 1/3rd of the way there so I don’t see a need to drop people whose work I enjoy regardless of whether they’ve added me.

  7. RuanNiemann says:

    ha! was just kidding!
    its good to know you care though 😉

  8. th.omas says:

    Don’t forget that notifications of being added as a contact don’t go into your regular Flickr Mail inbox anymore, so it’s easy for someone to not realize you added them. Especially if they use an e-mail filter to keep social networking auto notifications out of their inbox.

  9. Eric in SF says:

    Tom – just because you will not be drawn into interpersonal drama because someone doesn’t have you as a reciprocal contact doesn’t mean that a non-trivial number of people will be drawn into drama. And some number of *those* people are going to initiate a customer contact with Flickr over the issue. Those contacts are expensive.

    I sometimes feel people are incapable of looking through the cold hard lens of cost containment when reviewing or analyzing the decisions big companies make.

  10. Thomas Hawk says:

    And some number of *those* people are going to initiate a customer contact with Flickr over the issue. Those contacts are expensive.

    Eric, there’s an easy answer for those expensive pesky customer contacts.

    They can just ban them from the Help Forum and not reply to their help by email requests like they do with me. 😉

  11. th.omas says:

    Eric in SF – that sounds like kindergarten.

  12. cj gordon says:

    How about contacts on your blog Thomas?I have many links on my photoblog that are not returned and it just so happens you are one of them.Jeez I feel so left out but I like your stuff and that’s what matters most.

  13. Thomas Hawk says:

    CJ, I don’t think you can be contacts on blogs can you? Not sure. What is your blog’s url?

  14. cj gordon says:

    Google friends is about the same as contacts I believe.I’m far more interested in sending people to other sites I enjoy than return links but they are nice when I get them.If you like just google the term eroticalee.I’m on e-lee1 and my wife has her erotic art on eroticalee2 [adults only].For your readers who have an interest in Japan check out the first link on e-lee1.Unfamiliar Japan by Ojisanjake.He is well worth a few minutes of your viewing time in my opinion.

  15. Mark says:

    I make people contacts because I like their photography or maybe I feel a connection to them geographically. I really don’t care if they don’t make me a contact. It does not hurt my feelings at all. If I were the type of persone to take it personally I might use it as an opportunity to thicken my skin. I like the freedom to make my own choices.
    P.S. If someone makes me a contact I just make them a contact back. That is how I roll.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hey there,

    I am a regular visitor of your website and I like it. A friend of mine has developed a new one-click software with his team. This software has already pulled over 100,000 search engine visitors (Google & Co) to their website within one single month. I thought this may be something for you, too. You can read more about it here:

    Best, Chris

  17. Chris Nixon says:

    Love it! I’ve just cleared out a quarter of my contacts. Less to wade through when I go on a ‘fave frenzy’!