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Pokémon Scarlet And Violet: How To Check And Raise Friendship

Going from a completely cosmetic meter for a single Pokémon in "Pokémon Yellow" to the integrated gameplay factor seen in "Pokémon Scarlet and Violet," the Friendship mechanic has come a long way since its introduction. As of Generation 9, it governs the evolution conditions of seven Pokémon and offers special rank-based battle bonuses — in short, it's important for more than just the warm fuzzies of seeing your Pokémon run happy circles around you whenever given the chance.


Of course, becoming friends with your Pokémon isn't as simple as just spending lots of time with them, though that does play a part. While Friendship points can accumulate passively via having a Pokémon in your active team, the meter caps out at a certain point and makes it impossible to unlock the battle bonuses of the higher Friendship ranks without interacting with them in Picnics. Here's a rundown on how the Friendship mechanic works in "Pokémon Scarlet and Violet," from checking the Friendship ranks, what bonuses they unlock, and how to raise them.

How to check your Pokémon's Friendship points

The Friendship mechanic operates on a points-based system that starts at zero and maxes out at 255. While there's no in-game way to check how many Friendship points a Pokémon has down to the exact number, there are two ways to check which rank you're at.


First and most obvious is how many hearts appear above the Pokémon's head when speaking to them during a picnic. A Pokémon can show one to five hearts, with one heart meaning moderately friendly, three hearts unlocking the first set of battle bonuses, and five hearts meaning max Friendship. However, the first heart doesn't even show up until around 100 points.

Before that, you'll need to go to Cascarrafa and find an NPC standing with a Marill near the fountain on the middle tier — she'll say, "You friendly with your Pokémon?"

Conveniently, you don't actually have to have the Pokémon you want to check in your team when you talk to her, as she'll automatically pull up the Boxes menu and let you select any of the critters you've caught so far. She'll say one of eight lines, the first four of which will give you much closer estimates of how far along you are even without any hearts (and the last four indicate high Friendship levels).


Friendship ranks and what bonuses they unlock

According to Serebii, the eight ranks as defined by the Cascarrafa NPC's response and the bonuses they unlock are as follows:

  • 0 points: "Oh my gosh! What happened between you two?!"
  • 1-49: "Are you two just starting to get to know each other?"
  • 50-99: "You two seem kinda neutral—like you don't mind each other."
  • 100-149 (First heart): "You're starting to get friendly."
  • 150-199 (Second heart): "You're getting along well... "
  • 200-229 (Third heart): "You're good friends, all right!"
    • 10% chance to endure a KO with 1 HP remaining
  • 230-254 (Fourth heart): "Wow, you're pretty great friends!"
    • 15% chance to endure a KO with 1 HP remaining
    • 20% chance of shaking off a status condition between turns
    • 20% increase in EXP gain
  • 255 (Fifth heart): "Whoa, you're the best friends ever!"
    • 20% chance to endure a KO with 1 HP remaining
    • 20% chance of shaking off a status condition between turns
    • 20% increase in EXP gain
    • Doubled critical hit ratio

Additionally, checking max-Friendship Pokémon at Cascarrafa will award them the Best Friends ribbon. An important thing to note is that, while most newly-caught Pokémon start at around "Neutral" friendliness (and hatched Pokémon a little higher than that), it seems the Treasures of Ruin Pokémon and Paradox Pokémon always start at a flat 0 upon being caught.


How to gain Friendship points

There are two kinds of friendship-raising actions, and the first involves all sorts of things you'd naturally do in the course of traveling with your Pokémon:

  • Walking with them (including Let's Go mode)
  • Leveling up
  • Feeding them beneficial items like vitamins, feathers, and EXP candies
  • Winning against Gym Leaders, Elite Four members, and the Champion

While the exact values are as of yet undiscovered, it's safe to assume they'd follow the long-standing trend of values in the "Pokémon" games where the order of most points awarded to least goes from winning against tough trainers, using high-level items like vitamins, leveling up, using low-level items like EXP Candies, then walking (via Bulbapedia).


The second kind of actions are the only ones that can raise Friendship beyond the 160-point soft cap mentioned above:

  • Feeding them Friendship-raising berries usually awarded from Tera Raids: Hondew, Kelpsy, Grepa, Pomeg, Tamato, and Qualot
  • Making sandwiches for them
  • Washing them

Of these, it seems that sandwiches are the most substantial source of Friendship points at higher ranks. While it's unknown if washing or feeding them berries gives more friendship, it seems that berries are an incredibly inefficient method to begin with: according to The Games Cabin, it takes 112 Friendship-raising berries to bring a Pokémon from neutral to max Friendship. Given that these berries are a slightly limited resource, it's probably best to leave them for correcting any mistakes made while EV training your Pokémon.

Losing Friendship points

Finally, it's important to know which actions do and don't deduct Friendship points. Thankfully, it's much harder to lose points than it is to gain them, meaning you shouldn't be hampering your progress without being exceptionally careless or unlucky. The only two ways you can lose Friendship are to feed your Pokémon bitter medicinal herbs or to let them faint in battle. Note that your Pokémon won't appreciate you setting them up for failure, intentionally or otherwise: If you let your Pokémon faint against an opponent 30 or more levels higher, the hit to Friendship will be much more substantial (via Bulbapedia).


Other than fainting and herbal medicine, however, many actions that very much seem like they might lower Friendship have no effect on the mechanic at all — things such as leaving a Pokémon boxed for long periods of time, walking without healing its status condition, and so on. And, while there seems to be a disparity in Bulbapedia's claim that winning battles has never affected friendship since Generation 2 and multiple publications listing winning battles as a valid means of raising friendship in "Scarlet and Violet," the truth of the matter makes very little difference in a practical sense: Any battle actions like winning or leveling up can only raise friendship until the soft cap, and the best way to quickly max a Pokémon out is to simply bulk-buy sandwiches and spam picnic meals.