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Pokémon Sword and Shield: How to raise friendship

Boosting the affection levels of your Pokémon

A Vanilluxe Pokémon smiles with two hearts above its head Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

The friendship stat is a hidden aspect of Pokémon Sword and Shield that affects not only how your partners perform, but is even a requirement to some of the game’s most unique evolutions.

Since the stat isn’t clearly shown on a creature’s summary, how can you check your Pokémon friendship level? And more importantly, how do you raise it? This guide will explain how.

Raising Pokémon friendship levels

Pokémon have five different levels of friendship. Just like other games in the franchise, as that level grows, your allies will have different perks in battle. Not only that, getting to level three happiness is a requirement to evolve some Pokémon.

So how do you raise this important, yet hidden stat? Here are a few methods:

  • Keep Pokémon in your party and use them in battle
  • Play with them at camp
  • Make them the best curry you can
  • Use a Friend or Luxury Ball when you capture them
  • Let them hold the Soothe Bell

Where to get the Soothe Bell

A house located in Hammerlocke in Pokémon Sword and Shield Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

When you fast travel to the central Pokémon Center in Hammerlocke, walk right to the first house you see. Inside is a whole family who will help you with your adventures in raising your friendship with your Pokémon.

To get the Soothe Bell, speak to the young woman in the back who will give you the item. Simply let a Pokémon hold this item to boost the rate at which they grow their friendship.

How to check your Pokémon’s friendship level

In that same house, two family members can help you out.

The young boy will give you a vague sense of which level you are at with any Pokémon, while the older woman will let you know how far away you are from maxing out your friendship level.

If you want a more visual representation of your Pokémon friendship level, simply set up camp. When you choose the “Speak” command with any Pokémon, anywhere between one and five hearts will appear above its head when it responds to you.