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Animal Crossing: New Horizons: How to increase friendship

One of the most rewarding gifts to get from villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a villagers photo. When you’re best friends with your adorable villagers, they give you a framed photo of themselves as a reward for your hard work. Although the chances of getting one can be small, it’s worth a try.

Increasing your friendship with the villagers will raise your chances of getting a villager photo. The game holds an invisible metric system that indicates how good of a friend you are, which can help decide how close you are to getting a villager photo. Knowing where you stand with your villagers can help you figure out how close you are to getting their photos. Unsure how good of a friend you are with Raymond or Stitches? We can help you figure it out!

Further reading

Friendship point basics

Animal crossing new horizons photo
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The game uses friendship points as a way to measure how good of a friend you are with different villagers. When a villager first moves in, they automatically start with 25 friendship points. As you become better friends with villagers, you’ll unlock different interactions with them. This can help you narrow down where you stand with your villagers and how good of friends you really are.

Level one is 0-29 friendship points, and you and the villager are considered new friends. At this level, the villager can give you a gift. When a villager first moves in, you won’t be able to give them a gift every day.

Level two is 30 to 59 points. At this point, you’ll be able to give them gifts daily. This happens after a day or two of the new villager being on your island. Speaking with them every day doesn’t seem to affect being able to give them daily gifts.

Level three is 60 to 99 points, and at this point, you and the villager are good friends. They’ll be able to sell you items and even give you a nickname. Hopefully, it’s not something too ridiculous, but usually it is. My villagers call me Guacamole, but I guess it’s better than some of the other nickname options.

Level four friendship gives you a chance to change the villagers’ catchphrase. You’ll need to reach a point level between 100 and 149 before hitting this mark.

Level five friendship is placed between 150 and 199 points, and this indicates you and the villager are best friends. You’ll be able to change the villagers’ greeting, and the chance to get a photo of the villager starts.

The highest level of friendship is level six, and that’s over 600 points. If your villager is approaching you to buy items in your inventory, you can rest assured that you’re level six best friends.

Based on what your villagers have asked you to do, it can be easy to narrow down where you stand with them. It can also help you figure out ways to increase the friendship and subsequently increase your chances of getting a villager photo.

Your next step will be to work on increasing friendship with the villagers. Every interaction will give players a new chance to increase friendship with them. But different interactions will give you a different number of points. Doing daily tasks for the villager will increase their friendship by one point. For example, making them the first conversation of the day or selling them an item when they ask to buy it will bring the friendship up by one point. By contrast, doing a big thing like catching a flea off of them will increase your friendship with them by five points.

There is also a way to decrease points. If you have a villager you hate, working on decreasing friendship points raises the chances of this villager leaving. You can lose three points by pushing them somewhere between four to eight seconds straight or by hitting them with a bug net three times. But if you accidentally offend a villager you love, there is a way to recover. If you upset a villager, you have a chance to earn back your points by apologizing. If they are happy with your apology and seem to be positive after your interaction, then you get 3 points for being sincere.

There are a few things that don’t impact a villager’s friendship points. If you ignore them, talk to them too much, hit them with an axe or shovel, send them letters, or fall into a pitfall seed, it’s no big deal. These things won’t impact your relationship will villagers at all.

Gifts and friendship points

An Animal Crossing player in a room full of villagers

One of the best ways to earn friendship points and get closer to those villager photos is by gift-giving. Each villager has two clothing styles and two colors they prefer. It’s important to know for players who want to give item gifts to their villagers and increase their friendship. If you’re unsure what your villager prefers, check out this awesome fav checker.

Each gift you give villagers will have a different impact on your friendship level. Any furniture will give players three friendship points. Flowers, bugs, fish, tools, favorite music, umbrellas, and preferred clothing will give players two points of friendship. Non-preferred clothing and any other items will only give players one friendship point. But for players who want their villagers to leave, giving them garbage or spoiled turnips will result in losing two friendship points.

A few things worth noting for this is that players who want to give villagers their favorite song, but are unsure what the song is, can find out what song the villager has playing in their house. The song playing in the house is the villager’s favorite song. Additionally, gifting umbrellas works differently for frog characters. Players will only get 1 friendship point for gifting an umbrella to a frog, which I guess makes sense.

In return, villagers can sometimes give you something back. The item you get back will depend on how many bells you would get if you sold the gift to Nook’s Cranny (resale value). If the resale value of the gift is 1 to 249 bells, you’ll usually get nothing back unless you’re good friends with that villager. If the resale value is 250 to 2499 bells, you have a 50% chance of getting bells or a 50% chance of getting an item. However, if your gift has a resale value of 2500 bells or more, you’ll more than likely get an item gifted back.

Getting an item back will give you bonus friendship points that are based on your friendship tier as well. New friends will get a bonus of one point, good friends get a bonus of two points, and best friends get a bonus of three points. So it may be worth your time to try to give good gifts.

Birthday gifts

Animal Crossing New Horizons Beach
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Villager birthday gifts can be some of the trickiest to navigate. But once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy! The rankings for birthday gifts go from trash to tier three. Each tier has different items, and gift quality will sometimes rely on the resale value of the gift.

At the bottom is trash. This would be lost items, spoiled turnips, weeds, and general garbage. Gifting items such as these will result in a loss of five friendship points. It’s perfect for those villagers you don’t want to look at anymore.

A tier one gift is an item, bug, fish, fossil, seashell, or wasp nest that sells for 500 bells or less. Additionally, this tier includes other items that have a resale value of fewer than 125 bells. Giving a tier-one gift will give players three friendship points. But if you’re ambitious and want a little more, consider wrapping the gift. This way, you’ll get one bonus friendship point.

Tier-two gifts include items that sell for 126 to 499 bells, or fossils, bugs, fish, shells, or wasp nests that would sell for 501 to 1,999 bells. The reward for a tier-two gift is four friendship points, and you can get two more bonus points for simply wrapping the gift.

Tier-three gifts are probably the best to give out. These are items or clothing the villager already owns, clothing that you are wearing, turnips, fruits, cake, and mushrooms. Additionally, you can gift bush, fish, fossils, shells, or wasp nests that have a resale value of over 2,000 bells or any items that would cost more than 500 bells. This tier will give you five friendship points, but why stop there? Wrap the gift and get three more bonus points for your work!

To clarify, when we say “cake” in tier three, we man birthday cake, a birthday cupcake, or mom’s homemade cake. But honestly, the best way to get all the points during a birthday is by wrapping a few native fruits. Villagers love fruits.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are a few villagers who will send you on a quest rather than ask to buy or sell items. The number of points you get from completing quests will depend on your friendship tier. If you’re new friends with a villager and they send you on a quest, you can earn one friendship point. For good friends, you have a 50% chance of earning one point and a 50% chance of earning two points. Best friends will absolutely earn two friendship points by the end.

Quests are super fun and an easy way to rack up some points. The types of quests are treasure hunts, helping sick villagers, searching for a bug or fish, lost item hunts, and deliveries. Each quest will start a little bit different, but it’s easy to figure out where your quest is going.

The treasure hunt interaction starts when the villager tells you that they’ve buried treasure somewhere on the island, and you have to find it and return it to them. There is an easy treasure hunt, which is six minutes, and a hard treasure hunt, which is three minutes. Although the number of points you can get will depend on your friendship tier, you can get a bonus point if you complete a hard treasure hunt or if the villager approaches you to start the treasure hunt. If you don’t manage to find the treasure within the time limit, you still have a chance of keeping some friendship points. Simply find the treasure before speaking with the villager; this will land one more friendship point. If you go back to the villager empty-handed, you’ll definitely lose one friendship point.

The sickness quest begins when you realize one of your villagers is at home and ill. All you have to do is grab some medicine and bring it to them. You can earn a few bonus points with this system as well. You can get one more friendship point if another villager tells you about the sick villager first AND you bring the sick villager medicine when you first talk to them. You’ll definitely lose a point if you tell the sick villager that you have medicine when there isn’t any in your inventory. Also, be careful not to enter and leave the sick villager’s house twice in a row without giving them medicine. They’ll lock you out of their home until the next day, and you won’t be able to interact with them.

The bug or fish quest is pretty straightforward, and it’s the most common of all the quests. A villager will ask you to find them a certain bug or fish, and you’ll have to start your hunt! You can get a bonus point in a few different ways with this quest. You’ll get a single point bonus if they ask you for a specific critter, the critter has a resale value of 2,000 bells, or if the villager comes up to you to start the quest. We believe a lot of players have experienced this quest, and it seems to be the one that occurs the most.

The lost item quest is another common one. The villager will ask you to find a lost item that is somewhere on the island. All you’ll have to do is run around and find either a random bag, book, or planner laying around. If you’re good friends or best friends with the owner of the item, you’ll be able to investigate it in your inventory. You’ll get one bonus point if you return the lost item to the correct villager without showing it to anyone else first or if the villager approaches you to find the lost item. You can get two bonus points if you turn the lost item to the owner before they even ask you to find it. So remember to investigate any lost items you have, and you can use our lost item guide to help you!

Delivery quests are really fun, and they’re pretty straightforward. Although they’re easy to complete for us, the point system is a little different than the other quests because there are a gift giver and a recipient, which means two friendships are available. The quest giver will ask you to take a wrapped gift to the recipient by either the end of the day or the following day, depending on how late it is. Doing a successful delivery can give you a few different levels of points. If you gave the delivery successfully and it’s still wrapped, you’ll raise your friendship level with both the giver and the recipient by three points. However, if you successfully deliver the gift but it’s opened, the recipient will give you one friendship point.

By contrast, if you fail to complete the delivery within the timeframe, you’ll lose points with only the gift giver. If the item is unopened and in your inventory, you’ll lose one point. If you opened the item and it’s in your inventory, you’ll lose two points. But if the item is completely missing from your inventory, you’ll lose three points.

Although it’s not a quest, comforting upset villagers is something to mention here as well. When you see a villager upset — usually they’re either angry or sad — go ahead and cheer them up with some encouragement! Although it doesn’t happen too often, cheering up upset villagers can give you an increase of three friendship points. So it’s definitely worth your time to at least try to encourage these villagers to feel better.

Villager photos only start to happen around level five friendship. Villagers will hand over their photos in exchange for a daily gift or for a tier two or three birthday gift that they do not already own. Another way that villagers will give you their photo is as a reward for a successful delivery or a quest completion if you’ve earned bonus points. The chance of getting a photo increases as you earn more friendship points. However, the chances do top out at about 10.2% of a chance when you have the maximum friendship level with a villager. The maximum friendship level for players is 255 friendship points, so keep that in mind.

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Leijah Petelka
Leijah Petelka is a freelance gaming guides writer for Digital Trends. She covers a variety of game types, but she does love…
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