Friendship, which has appeared in every game under various aliases such as Affection or Happiness, makes a return in Pokémon: Sword and Shield. Aside from strengthening your bond, Friendship can affect your Pokémon’s performance during battles.
In this guide, we’ll explain what the Friendship stat effects are and how to raise your Friendship with each Pokémon. If you would like more general tips and tricks for getting started in Sword and Shield, check out our Beginner’s Guide for everything you need to know about the Galar Region.
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Pokémon Friendship Explained
Every Pokémon has a unique Friendship value, which is hidden from the player. Having a high Friendship value allows Pokémon to level up much faster, increases their chances of landing critical hits as well as surviving attacks that would normally cause them to faint. Friendship is also used to calculate the damage dealt with the moves Frustration and Return.
Additionally, certain Pokémon will evolve if your rating is high enough. Here are all the Pokémon that evolve through Friendship:
- Alolan Meowth
- Type: Null
How To Check Friendship Rating
To check a Pokémon’s Friendship rating, travel to Hammerlocke and enter the building located on the right of the Pokémon Center. Once inside, you’ll encounter a boy with blonde hair who will assess your Pokémon with one of the following lines:
- Oh wow, you’re best buddies! (Max)
- You two are almost best friends! (High)
- You two get along great! (High)
- Seems like you’re pretty good friends! (Decent)
- Wow, I think you’re on your way to becoming real good friends! (Low)
- Seems like it likes you an average amount! (None)
- I guess you two just met? It’s still getting used to things. (None)
- Maybe you’re a bit too strict? It doesn’t seem like you’re friends at all… (None)
How To Raise Friendship
Considering how many upsides there are to having a high Friendship rating, you might want to spend time tightening your bond with your favorite Pokémon. There are several ways to do this with varying results, so we recommend combining as many methods as you can.
Items are a great way to make Pokémon fonder of you. Your best option is the Soothe Bell, which has the effect of raising any Friendship gained by 50% while held by a Pokémon. Catching a Pokémon in a Luxury Ball will also help increase its Friendship level.
Another method is to feed your Pokémon certain items, such as Berries and Iron Vitamins. The only downside to using these is that they also cause a specific stat to be lowered. Here are all the Berries that raise Friendship:
- Grepa (Lowers Sp. Def)
- Hondew (Lowers Sp. Atk)
- Kelpsy (Lowers Atk)
- Pomeg (Lowers HP)
- Qualot (Lowers Def)
- Tamato (Lowers Speed)
Battling and leveling up your Pokémon will also raise their Friendship rating, more so if you have them hold a Soothe Bell. If you don’t feel like battling, try feeding your Pokémon Exp. Candy and Rare Candy to raise their level and Friendship at the same time.
The last method for improving your Friendship is to use Poke Camp, a new feature introduced in Sword and Shield. To set up your campsite, open the menu and select ‘Pokémon Camp’. Once in your camp, find the Pokémon whose rating you wish to improve and interact with them by playing with toys or feeding them Curries.