In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the ultimate award for friendship is getting a framed photo of your best villager buddy to display prominently in your home. Getting that photo, however, isn't a transparent process and it can be hard to know if you're making any progress at all. Here's what you need to know about making friends in New Horizons.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Friendship and Gift Guide

Your relationships with villagers in New Horizons run off of a simple points system "under the hood," so to speak. This covers the details of how your actions influence your friendships with them. Every villager first enters your island with 25 points of friendship with you, where they're willing to give you the occasional gift and are open to the idea of being pals. Naturally, if this rating ever reaches zero, they'll ask you if you want them to move away from the island.

At 30 points, you unlock the ability to give your villagers gifts in order to raise your friendship with them a little faster. This is a double-edged sword, as bad gifts can tank your friendship rating, but if you pay attention to who you're talking to, bribery definitely works. At 60 points, you reach a stage in your relationship where a villager may give you a nickname. At 100 points, you can ask a villager to change their unique catchphrases; at 150 points at up, the villager considers you their best friend and you have a chance to obtain their framed photo. You can raise or lower your friendship with a villager via several everyday tasks.

Everyday Activities

This covers what you can do over the course of a typical day on the island.

First conversation of the day*

+1

Sell a villager an item they ask for

+1

Shove a villager until they get upset**

-3

Hit a villager with your bug net until they get upset**

-3

Cheer up an angry or upset villager

+3

Successfully complete a task given by a villager

+1***

Hit a villager with fleas with your bug net

+5

*: If you just keep talking to the same villager repeatedly over the course of a single day, they may sound annoyed with you eventually, but this doesn’t actually affect your friendship rating.
**: Subsequently apologizing will remove this penalty.
***: At 50 friendship points or higher with a particular villager, you receive a 50/50 chance at a 1- or 2-point bonus upon completing tasks from that villager.

Gifts

Starting at 30 points, you have the option to give a villager a gift once a day. You can just hand it to them out of nowhere, or wrap it first using paper sold at Nook's Cranny, which improves the gift's friendship value by 1.

Garbage, weeds, spoiled turnips

-2

Flowers

+2

Insects

+2

Tools

+2

Music

+2

Umbrella (frogs)

+1

Umbrella (non-frogs)

+2

Furniture

+3

Wrapped Gifts

+1 in addition to the gift’s value

Clothing in preferred styles

+2

Clothing in non-preferred styles

+1

Gifts of furniture can be a mixed blessing. It’s an easy way to build a friendship, particularly if you have a surplus lying around for whatever reason, but with the gift comes the risk that the villager will actually want to use that furniture in their house. If you just randomly throw whatever you can find at a villager, don’t be surprised if you drop by their house at some point in the future and their interior decoration has gone straight to hell. This is the monster you created.

Likewise, the "preferred styles" note under clothing is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. Every individual villager in the game has pre-set values for their favorite colors and styles of clothing, so you'll get more mileage out of gifts that appeal to those tastes. The villager may even wear the clothes you give them. However, there are nearly 400 villagers in the general recruitment pool for New Horizons, so maintaining a list of all of their clothing preferences is daunting. Fortunately, the community has already responded with fan-created tools like Nook Plaza, which lets you search through its database for a specific villager's favorite threads.

Birthday Gifts

A villager's birthday is a great chance to give them a perfect gift... or to truly infuriate them. You can find a villager's birthday via all sorts of sources both in-game and out, including Nintendo's official at-a-glance birthday calendar.

Garbage, weeds, spoiled turnips

-5

A lost item that they asked you to find

-5

Bugs, fish, fossils, or seashells worth 0-500 Bells

+3

Bugs, fish, fossils, or seashells worth 501-1999 Bells

+4

Bugs, fish, fossils, or seashells worth 2000+ Bells

+5

Other items worth 1-125 Bells

+3

Other items worth 126-499 Bells

+4

Other items worth 500+ Bells

+5

Wrapped Gifts

+1/2/3 to gift’s previous value*

*: The more expensive the item, the higher the bonus for wrapping it before you give it as a gift. For example, a wrapped piece of fruit is worth 8 points.

We've got dozens of guides, tips, and tricks on our Animal Crossing game hub, meant to make your idyllic island life that much less stressful. Check out some of our recent projects:

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, bribery works. You can chat your way to friendship with any villager in the game by just checking in with them once a day and maybe helping them out if need be, but rampantly buying their eternal devotion with clothes and chairs works much faster. Who says video games don't teach you anything? Share other life lessons with us via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.