Pokémon Sword and Shield Friendship and Happiness explained - how to raise Friendship, Soothe Bell and Friendship Checker location explained

How to become best friends with your Pokémon. 

Friendship, also known as Happiness, is an important invisible stat in Pokémon Sword and Shield, which, as the name suggests, determines how friendly your Pokémon are with you.

There are a variety of how to raise your Friendship with your Pokémon, including having them hold the Soothe Bell.

You can also find a character, called the Friendship Checker, who will tell you how close you truly are to your Pokémon. This is incredibly useful as some Pokémon only evolve when they have a high Friendship level.

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What is Friendship and Happiness in Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Friendship, sometimes referred to as Happiness, is an invisible stat in Pokémon Sword and Shield, which determines how friendly a Pokémon is towards you.

Each Pokémon has their own Friendship stat with you and it depends on how well you treat it. Treat the Pokémon well and it'll have a high Friendship stat, treat it poorly, however, and it will have a low friendship stat.

Having a high Friendship level with certain Pokémon, like Eevee for example, will allow them to evolve.

How you increase your Pokémon's Happiness level depends on the Friendship Level itself.

Once a Pokémon reaches "two hearts", viewable in Pokémon Camp, they will have reached a soft cap. If you want to increase their Friendship Level to the maximum level, then you need to experinment with Pokémon Camp itself.

Pokemon_Sword_Affection_4
To have maximum Friendship with your Pokémon, you must use Pokémon Camp.

How to increase your Friendship and Happiness with a Pokémon to Two Hearts in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Increasing your Friendship level with a Pokémon to two hearts can be as simple as keeping it in your party, battling with it and ensuring it doesn't faint.

Giving your Pokémon the Soothe Bell to hold will also increase their Friendship level, as will catching a Pokémon in a Luxury Ball or giving them Vitamins, like Iron.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_2

Finally, there are a variety of berries that you can give your Pokémon to help make them happier. The downside, however, is that these berries will also lower a certain stat for your Pokémon.

These berries are:

  • Grepa Berry - lowers Special Defence
  • Hondew Berry - lowers Special Attack
  • Kelpsy Berry - lowers Attack
  • Porneg Berry - lowers HP
  • Qualot Berry - lowers Defence
  • Tamato Berry - lowers Speed

How to reach max Friendship and Happiness with a Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield

The only way to continue raising your Friendship level with a Pokémon once you reach a two hearts is through Pokémon Camp.

Set up your campsite by selecting the 'Pokémon Camp' option from the X menu and, once your camp is ready, call out to the Pokémon you wish to raise the Friendship Level of.

You'll get an idea about how the Pokémon feels towards you by how they react to your call; musical tone and they're pretty fond of you, a question mark means you have a distant relationship.

Pokemon_Sword_Affection_5
Pokemon_Sword_Affection_1
Hattrem is happy to see me, while Milcery isn't so sure.

Once they've come over, you can talk to them, which will reveal the number of hearts, and Friendship Level, they have towards you.

You can now either continue talking to your Pokémon or play with them using one of the Pokémon Toys.

Cooking curries will also make a Pokémon happier, with some curries being more effective than others.

Finally, your Pokémon will occasionally get into fights with one another. You can easily break up these fights by calling one of the Pokémon over, which will, again, increase their Friendship level.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_1
Pokemon_Sword_Affection_2
Cooking curries and playing with your Pokémon will raise your Friendship Level.

How to lower your Friendship with a Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield

If you're not careful, you do run the risk of lowering your Friendship level with a Pokémon. This can be easily done by leaving it in a Pokémon box for too long, trading it with another player or allowing it faint often in battle.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_5

There are also certain healing items that will decrease your Friendship level with a Pokémon. All of these items will include the word 'bitter' in their description, suggesting that, while they might be useful, your Pokémon might not be too happy to eat one of them.

These healing items are:

  • Energy Root
  • Energy Powder
  • Heal Powder
  • Revival Herb

Friendship and Happiness Checker location in Pokémon Sword and Shield

If you want to check the Friendship level of a specific Pokémon, then travel to Hammerlocke. Once you're there head to the building to the right of the Pokémon Centre.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_3
You'll find the Friendship Checker in this house.

Inside you'll find a young boy with blonde hair, who'll be able to check your Pokémon's Happiness level towards you.

Simply select the Pokémon you wish to become closer to and he'll give you an idea of what you're friendship is really like. Usefully, you don't have to place a Pokémon in your party to have their Friendship level checked.

He'll then give you a line of dialogue suggesting how friendly your Pokémon is to you. If you're not best friends, then you've still got some work to do!

If you are best friends with your Pokémon, then he'll place a Best Friends Ribbon on that Pokémon.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_6

Going from best to worse, here are all the Friendship Levels hint and the corresponding heart levels:

Friendship Checker HintHeart Level
Oh wow, you're best buddies! I can tell you're so happy to be together! 5
You two are almost best friends! I can see you really care about each other! 4
You two get along great! Together is always better - am I right? 3
Seems like you're pretty good friends! Still, I bet you could become even closer! 2
Wow, I think you're on your way to becoming real good friends! 1
Seems like it likes you an average amount! Don't worry - you two will get closer as time passes! 0
I guess you two just met? It's still getting used to things. 0
Maybe you're a bit too strict? It doesn't seem like you're friends at all… 0

Soothe Bell Location in Pokémon Sword and Shield

The Soothe Bell is a special item that will raise the Friendship level of the Pokémon who holds it.

To find the Soothe Bell in Pokémon Sword and Shield, head to the house of the Friendship Checker in Hammerlocke.

At the back of the Friendship Checker's living room, you'll find a girl with blonde hair. Talk to her and she'll give you the Soothe Bell.

Pokemon_Sword_Friendship_6

Friendship and Happiness Battle Bonuses in Pokémon Sword and Shield explained

Raising the Friendship Level of a Pokémon unlocks a number of special bonuses when you take it into battle.

This can be anything from a special movement the Pokémon will make on the battlefield to an increase in its critical hit ratio.

If you're planning on making a Pokémon a key member of your party, then raising their Friendship Level and keeping them happy is essential to unlocking their full potential.

Pokemon_Sword_Affection_3
Milcery has a low Friendship Level.

You begin unlocking the various battle bonuses once you reach a three heart Friendship Level with a Pokémon.

Below you'll find the various battle bonuses and at which Friendship Level each one unlocks at:

Three Hearts:

  • Pokémon may move slightly when its sent out into battle.
  • Very small chance that the Pokémon will survive an attack that would usually knock it out.

Four Hearts:

  • Pokémon will bounce up and down when it enters battle.
  • Medium chance of it recovering from status conditions on its own.
  • Small chance that the Pokémon will survive an attack that would usually knock it out.
  • Pokémon will receive boosted EXP points.

Five Hearts:

  • Pokémon will bounce up and down when it enters battle.
  • Pokémon will receive boosted EXP points.
  • Medium chance of it recovering from status conditions on its own.
  • Medium chance that the Pokémon will survive an attack that would usually knock it out.
  • Pokémon has an increased critical hit ratio.
  • Very small chance that the Pokémon will be able to avoid an opponent's move entirely.

Sword and Shield finally here! Our now complete Pokémon Sword and Shield walkthrough and Pokémon Sword and Shield tips can help with the main adventure, and along the way you'll encounter a few new features - from the Wild Area and Pokémon Camp to strong-looking Pokémon and autosaving. After discovering the starters Sobble, Scorbunny and Grookey, we have a guide to the Turffield treasure riddle solution, and Ballonlea quiz answers and solutions, lists of all Pokémon Sword and Shield TM locations new Gen 8 Pokémon, Sword and Shield Pokédex, version differences, Galarian forms and Sword and Shield Legendaries. We also have an evolution guide, including guides on evolving Applin, Farfetch’d, Milcery, Sinistea, Toxel and Yamask.


Which Pokémon require a High Friendship Level to evolve in Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Not all Pokémon evolve simply by levelling up, some require the power of friendship.

Some Pokémon, like Lucario or Snom, will evolve once they have "two hearts" in Pokémon Camp, though their evolution may have to take place during a specific time of day.

The easiest place to evolve these Pokémon is to visit the Wild Area as, unlike the towns and routes in Pokémon Sword and Shield, the passage of time here is tied to the internal clock of the Nintendo Switch.

This means that if your Nintendo Switch thinks it's midnight, then so will the Wild Area.

Pokemon_Espeon
Pokemon_Sylveon
Pokemon_Umbreon
Espeon, Sylveon and Umbreon all evolve from Eevee when it has a high Friendship Level.

Keep this in mind when you're trying to evolve Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon.

Another thing to keep in mind when evolving Eevee is that, if it knows a fairy-type attack, then, no matter the time of day, Eevee will evolve into Sylveon.

To avoid this, simply replaced either Baby-Doll Eyes (learnt at Level 15) or Charm (learnt at Level 45) with another attack and you'll be able to evolve Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon.

Here are all the Pokémon that require high friendship levels to evolve in Pokémon Sword and Shield are:

  • Budew evolves into Roselia during the day
  • Cleffa evolves into Clefairy
  • Eevee evolves into Espeon during the day
  • Eevee evolves into Sylveon while knowing a Fairy-type move
  • Eevee evolves into Umbreon at night
  • Pichu evolves into Pikachu
  • Munchlax evolves into Snorlax
  • Riolu evolves into Lucario during the day
  • Snom evolves into Frosmoth at night
  • Togepi evolves into Togetic
  • Type: Null evolves into Silvally
  • Woobat evolves into Swoobat

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Lottie Lynn

Lottie Lynn

Guides Writer

Lottie Lynn is Eurogamer's guides writer. She likes exploring new games and still has nightmares about the moon from Majora's Mask.

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