Customised frame on Stitches' photoAustin Voigt

Ever wonder if there's a point to all of the constant conversation-having, flea-catching and task-completing to be had with your neighbors in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Lucky for you, there most certainly is - framed photos of each and every resident! But they don't come easily, or quickly.

For those who are less familiar with the intricacies of friendships in the Animal Crossing series, we've provided a handy guide to determining, increasing and benefiting from friendship levels with your animal acquaintances. Read on, social butterflies!

Increasing Friendship Levels with Villagers and Getting Their Photos in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

What is the "friendship level"?

While it's always been a bit of an unspoken, mysterious achievement in nearly every Animal Crossing game to date, becoming "best friends" with your animal neighbors has been yielding tangible results since the days of Wild World, in which players actually began to acquire framed photos of their BFFs as rewards signifying their friendship.

"Friendship" is measured on a scale of friendliness between yourself and each of your fellow towns-animals, and is increased through consistent, positive interactions together. Of course, this popular element of the games has naturally made a return in New Horizons, and even has a few new features to keep things spicy.

How do you increase your friendship levels with villagers?

Different options to engage with characters and build friendship include giving them giftsAustin Voigt

While "friendship levels" may be a bit of a black box, we have determined a list of actions that can be taken to either improve - or degrade - your friendships in the game. Actions players can take to become better friends with other characters include:

  • Talking to them 6-7 times per day (more than that may annoy them and negatively affect your friendship - which they'll be very clear about - so don't go overboard)
    • While you can talk to them anytime you see them, be sure to speak to them whenever you see them talking to themselves, or notice thought bubbles over their heads - this means they want to engage with you (and they'll likely have a gift or request for you, too)
  • Sending letters to them from the airport - with bonus points for attaching gifts
    • Be sure to align the gifts to their likes and personalities for extra credit - and wrap them if you're feeling fancy!
  • Completing tasks and requests for them, including:
    • Gathering requested items
    • Returning lost items
    • Providing medicine when neighbors are sick at home
    • Delivering items to other neighbors for them when asked
    • Playing games (such as "treasure hunts")
    • Providing new greetings, catchphrases or nicknames when requested
    • Catching their fleas with your net (they're animals, it happens)
  • Giving gifts when the option is presented (generally 1x per day, per character)
    • Again, align said gifts to their personalities - wrapping them doesn't hurt, either
    • You'll often receive either Bells or a nice gift in return - and the better your gift aligns with their tastes (and is nicely wrapped), the more likely it is that your prize will increase in value

There are also some crucial actions we suggest avoiding at all costs, as they will bring down your friendship levels (unless, of course, you're trying to rid a certain neighbor from your island):

  • Giving them trash or weeds as presents
  • Pushing them around or bumping into them when you walk past them
  • Hitting them with tools, such as your net (unless you're catching their fleas, of course)
  • Again, speaking to them too often will either result in annoying or exhausting them, both of which will bring down your friendship level
    • At a certain point, we think we may have even broken poor Stitches...

How can you check your current friendship levels?

Because there is no in-game measurement or tool to determine friendship levels, it can be difficult to know where you stand with your friends - just as it can sometimes be in real life. However, we have identified three unique stages that your friendships will go through, to give you a bit of an idea on where your relationship is at. Here are some key characteristics of each friendship level:

  1. In the first level of friendship, your only choice for engaging is to speak to them - no options to give them presents (unless you mail them), or complete requests; they will also become annoyed more quickly if you speak to them too often in one day
  2. At the second friendship level, you'll be able to speak to them more frequently, without annoying them quite as quickly; you'll also have the ability to give them presents generally once per day, or fulfill requests for them
  3. You will not know for certain that you're at the third friendship level until you receive a framed picture from them - however, you will have to achieve and maintain the third friendship level for a while in order to obtain your framed prize
Receiving photo from Stitches for becoming best friendsAustin Voigt

How do you get your villagers' photos in New Horizons?

By achieving a level three friendship with a villager, and maintaining it for an unspecified amount of time, you will eventually receive a their picture in a frame, which can be used as a furniture item. It appears to happen randomly - either when you interact with them, or through a letter.

Note: these are different from the posters that you can obtain of different villagers by scanning their amiibo into the game.

Another fun element is the fact that the frames are customisable with many different colors and designs - so you can ensure that your favorite villager's likeness will fit in with your home decor!

Customised frame on Stitches' photoAustin Voigt

And that, friends, is our definitive guide to determining and increasing (or decreasing) friendship levels in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As of this month, we count 393 characters you can recruit as neighbors and become besties with - so for you completionists out there: you've got your work cut out for you. For help in this endeavor, take a peek at our handy guides on how to choose your villagers and how to use amiibo!

Have you achieved top friendship status with any of your islanders in New Horizons yet? How many framed photos have you received? Let us know in the comments down below!

This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which covers How To Fish with Complete Fish List and How To Catch Bugs with Complete Bug List. If you're looking for specific fish we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Stringfish and Golden Trout, along with a list of Fish And Bugs leaving at the end of May and Best Custom Design Codes we've found so far. We can also help with How To Make Bells Fast, How To Get An Axe, using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, How To Cut Down And Move Trees, How To Upgrade Nook's Cranny and How To Get More DIY Recipes.

And finally Where To Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons On Nintendo Switch if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game.