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Persona 4 Golden Social Stats, best ways to increase Courage, Expression, Knowledge, Understanding, and Diligence

From studying at the library to petting a stray cat, here's the best ways to increase your Social Stats.

Persona 4 Golden Social Stats is an experience system that shapes your interactions with characters throughout the story.

The protagonist's stats are divided into Courage, Expression, Knowledge, Understanding, and Diligence. The sooner you level these up, the better.

Following a careful plan from the start will allow you to make significant progress with each stat, whilst also allowing you to spend time with your friends' Social Links and fighting Shadows. This is key since your time is limited, with story events showing up unexpectedly - at times taking entire days of your schedule.

Persona 4 Golden includes some extra activities that can help considerably to improve the stats as early as possible, compared to the original version - with this Social Stats page explaining the best ways to increase all Social Stats.

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For more help, we've also got Persona 4 Golden test and exam answers, and riddle answers pages.

Why increasing Social Stats in Persona 4 Golden is important

Social Links, which represent your relationship with friends and acquaintances across 10 ranks, are vital for story and progression purposes.

Unlike your traditional JRPG, you won't be able to spend experience points onto these stats after gaining a level. Instead, the system is directly related to everyday activities such as studying, reading books, eating different dishes at your local restaurant, and many others.

Most relationships will usually get to a point where a certain Social Stat level is required, so equally investing time in both systems will retroactively benefit each other.

This is also related to conversations. There'll be several times were a lack of a certain Social Stat level will stop you from choosing a dialogue option. The outcomes are usually minor, so don't worry about missing entire stories or character arcs due to this.

If you do succeed on them, though, you will gain points for the stat.

It's worth clarifying that these dialogue options can appear either in main story conversations or doing side activities without prior warning, and if you don't meet the requirement, you can simply choose another dialogue option and move on.

In addition, some jobs will ask for a certain Social Stat level, and you can miss out on entire Social Links because of this, such as the Devil Arcana in the hospital. Oh, and getting to the top list of the students with higher grades after exams will boost several Social Links at once.

How to check Social Stats in Persona 4 Golden

To check your Social Stats in Persona 4 Golden, click 'Status' from the main menu, click the protagonist's status, then select 'Switch Info'.

When you gain levels in a stat, the description below it will change. If you want to drop the pretty insulting 'basic' and 'callow' descriptions, you'll have to work on increasing those Social Stats.

General tips for increasing Social Stats in Persona 4 Golden

You're gonna be reading a lot of books to increase your stats. Along with the specific ones that we'll talk about more in each entry, starting August 4th you'll be able to read Hyperspeed Reading, allowing you to read two chapters in one session.

The school's cultural and sport clubs have set attendance days, indicated in the faculty office when you apply for them after April 19th.

These compliment greatly with part-time jobs, as they're not a daily obligation that is always on your schedule, but rather optional activities to attend when you see fit.

Along with working towards their own Social Links, they are great to increase Social Stats.

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes they will be available outside of schedule. The best way to know this is to exit your classroom after school, and you'll see the members of each club in the corridor.

If they have an exclamation mark on them, you'll know they are available. And remember, even if the game says your relationship with the Social Link won't be getting closer, you will still obtain points for the Social Stat by attending.

If you're coming from Persona 5's social stats, there are some similarities and differences to keep in mind.

First, you won't obtain experience points for a Social Stat reading a book until you've finished it, but doing so during a rainy day has the chance to give you points towards the stat even if you still have some chapters to go.

The biggest benefit from rain still comes while studying, increasing how much Knowledge you receive.

Unlike Persona 5, going to the movie theater with a friend in Okina City won't increase any of your stats, but rather give them experience outside of combat.

It's worth mentioning that the stores there don't hold Social Stat related activities either, but rather offer Skill Cards and additional costumes for your characters, amongst other bonuses that are exclusive from Golden.

Lastly, eating dishes in Aiya is a great way to increase Social Stats.

Whenever you have the option to roam around the town freely, make sure to check which dish they're serving that day, since the game will always display the Social Stat it will increase.

There's one in particular that you should keep in mind. During rainy days, the Mega Beef Bowl Challenge will become available. It requires your Courage, Understanding, Knowledge and Diligence to be at level 5 to finish it.

That being said, at least three of those stats will gain points even if you fail, so it's worth giving it a try when you don't have other activities to do that day. Just keep it mind it will cost you 3000 yen each time.

With all of this in mind, here's the best ways to increase every individual every Social Stat:

Best ways to increase Courage in Persona 4 Golden

After you've saved a target from the TV, and said target becomes available in your party, you'll have the option to return to their dungeon and fight an optional boss.

If you do so, along with picking up a powerful weapon, your Courage will increase after the fight is over. Keep in mind that previous shortcuts won't apply for these revisits, so you'll have to start the dungeon all over again.

On June 9th you'll unlock the Scooter. This will allow you to travel around both the neighborhood and to other places outside of town, including Okina City and the beach. Riding the scooter will increase your Courage, so make sure to keep this in mind. You can use it from outside the Dojima Residence, but only during the day.

Starting May 25th, you'll be able to take the Hospital Janitor job, available Wednesday through Friday during the night.

Just go to the bus top in the Central Shopping District and it will give you the option to travel. This job leads you to unlock and develop the Devil Social Link, along with increasing Courage in every visit. Additionally, if you read 100 Ghost Stories, you will obtain bonus points when working at the hospital.

Aside from these, eating rotten food out of the fridge will increase the Courage stat, so make sure to check it periodically during the evenings when you're back home.

The books that increase Courage in Persona 4 Golden are:

  • The Lovely Man
  • Forever Macho
  • Man of History
  • Man-God
  • Farewell to Man

Best ways to increase Expression in Persona 4 Golden

Whenever you help a friend with an answer in class, it will increase your Expression instead of your Knowledge.

The Drama Club is perfect to level up your Expression. As well as working on the Sun Social Link, every meeting you attend (even the ones that don't actually involve a new SL level) will grant you Expression points regardless.

As for jobs, Translator is the one you can get early on in the game, available from April 23rd. It requires at least level 2 in Knowledge, and you can access it from the table in your room.

At times a prompt will appear, asking you to choose between two options. These are random, but if you choose the correct one, you'll gain bonus points, along with more money.

The best thing about the Translator job is that there's no fixed schedule, so whenever you're free during the evening, you know what to do. Once you have obtained level 5 in Understanding, you'll be able to start the Tutor job, which becomes available from May 25th. The Tower Social Link is also related to this.

The books that increase Expression in Persona 4 Golden are:

  • The Ramen Way
  • The Punk's Way
  • The O-Cha Way
  • The Divine Way
  • English Made Easy (grants a bonus for the Translator job)

Best ways to increase Knowledge in Persona 4 Golden

Studying is one of the first activities you can do in Persona 4 Golden, and you should start taking advantage of this as soon as possible. But before doing so, browse through the book shop in the town's shopping centre, and you'll notice a book called 'Expert Study Methods'.

This book will increase the Knowledge you gain every time you study either at home or at the library.

It's worth investing time reading it, since it will take you three nights to get to the end, but then you'll compensate it by gaining double points in the next three sessions, along with all the ones to come after that.

You can then study on your room using the desk or at the school's library. At times, along with the second guaranteed bonus after reading the book, you have the chance to gain a third bonus randomly. But, if you want to secure all three, make sure to study during rainy days.

Successfully answering questions in class will grant you Knowledge, so make sure to keep our Persona 4 Golden test answers page at hand to get them all right.

Studying with friends the week before exams is a great way of gaining some extra bonus points towards the Knowledge Social Stat, along with working on your social links on the side. Doing this will 'greatly increase' your Knowledge, and if you have read the 'Expert Study Methods' book, that bonus applies as well.

Whilst it's not the norm, some classes will provide important lessons that will increase your Knowledge. You don't have to do anything in order to obtain said bonus.

There isn't an specific part-time job that increases your Knowledge, but the Translator gig requires at least level 2 of the social stat to take it.

The books that increase Knowledge in Persona 4 Golden are:

  • The Ramen Way
  • The Gentle Way
  • The Punk's Way
  • Guide to Pests
  • Poly-land
  • The O-Cha Way
  • Who Am I?
  • The Divine Way

Best ways to increase Understanding in Persona 4 Golden

There isn't much to do to increase your Understanding in Persona 4 Golden, so it's best to focus on part-time jobs for it. From April 23rd, you can become an Origami Crane Folder, which can be accessed from the work desk in your room.

Note that this job is Volunteer so you won't get paid, and it requires Diligence on level 2 to take it, but the silver lining is that it doesn't have a schedule.

There's also the Assistant Day Care Caretaker job, available on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, except for rainy days. It requires at least rank 2 in Understanding, and it will be great to increase the stat from there. This also opens up the Temperance Social Link.

While Soccer only increases Diligence, agreeing to help cleaning up after practice will boost your Understanding.

The stray cat on the street outside of the Dojima Residence mainly increases your Diligence, but it has the chance to also increase your Understanding as well.

The books that increase Understanding in Persona 4 Golden are:

  • Off Today
  • Witch Detective
  • Short on Cash
  • Changing Careers
  • Picross Rules!
  • Sensei's Friend
  • The Final Lesson
  • Easy Origami (boosts the Origami Crane Folder gig)

Best ways to increase Diligence in Persona 4 Golden

Gardening is a great way to increase your Diligence. You can purchase seeds from a woman (who's dressed in gardening attires) located both on Junes' entrance and outside of the Dojima Residence.

Always make sure to plant and harvest when it becomes available, which is displayed with a blue icon on the right side of your home, just above a bucket filled with materials and tools. Harvesting won't count as a day or evening activity, so as soon as you're done, you'll be back at home.

Note that Diligence doesn't increase each time, and this activity is more useful for Dojima and Nanako's Social Links, along with other benefits, but you should set up the farm as soon as possible.

As for school clubs, both Basketball and Soccer increase the Diligence Social Stat. Again, regardless of whether or not your social link is gonna increase that day, you will always obtain the stat points. Just keep in mind that they won't be available during rainy days.

Working on both Unfinished Models, which appear while working on the Hermit Social Link, will give you a decent boost to the Diligence Social Stat. Only the first one is required, but the person will provide a second optional one, which really helps.

Outside of the Dojima Residence, you will sometimes find a stray cat on the street. If you decide to spend time with it, you'll obtain Diligence points, along with Understanding points on occasion.

In terms of jobs, Envelope Constructor is a great early gig similar to translating. It will be available from April 23rd, accessible on the work desk in your doom, and has neither a requirement or a schedule.

Starting May 25th, the Pub Dishwasher job will become up for grabs, which requires at least rank 2 in Understanding. It doesn't have a schedule, so you can work there any night.

The books that increase Diligence in Persona 4 Golden are:

  • Witch Detective
  • Poly-land
  • Picross Rules!
  • Who Am I?
  • Office Work Manual (grants a boost to the Envelope Constructor job)

Hope that helps! If you're looking for more guides, we have dedicated explainer on Persona 4 Golden test and exam answers.

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