Main Walkthrough

Friendship (also sometimes known as Happiness) has long been a staple mechanic in the Pokémon series, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are no exceptions. This generation continues to measure your relationship with your Pokémon, and in order to evolve some critters to their fullest potential you'll need to boost their Friendship scores.

This guide will take you through the process of raising your Friendship with your Pokémon. It's not that difficult, though it does take time.

Raising Friendship Scores

There are five ways to raise your Friendship with your Pokémon. They are as follows:
  • Travel with the Pokémon in your party
  • Let the Pokémon wander around outside its Poké Ball while in the field
  • Let the Pokémon autobattle other Pokémon in the wild
  • Gain levels for your Pokémon
  • Clean your Pokémon
(Note that in previous games you could also increase your Friendship score with your Pokémon by catching it in a Luxury Ball and giving it Vitamins. It's not confirmed whether doing this in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet still works just yet.)

Your first three options involve putting your Pokémon in the lead of your party and walking around with it, either in towns or in the wild. Hit the ZR button and your Pokémon will be allowed to explore a bit on its own, further increasing your Friendship gains.

Friendship is also increase by allowing your Pokémon to autobattle other Pokémon in the field. Hit the R button and you'll toss out your Pokémon, and if there are any nearby wild Pokémon it will stroll over and attack them. If you have a favorable type- and level-advantage compared to your target your Pokémon will win the fight, gain some experience, and become a little happier in the process. Heading to low-level areas to fight is ideal for autobattling, as your Pokémon can easily lose these little fights if you don't deploy it judiciously.

Whether your Pokémon gains experience from autobattling or not, each level it goes up will also boost your Friendship levels. So while you may not want to level up a Pokémon a ton before it evolves, gaining levels is one of the faster methods for boosting Friendship.

Your other option for boosting Friendship is via Picnicking. Open the menu and choose Picnic while in the field. If you're on a relatively flat surface your character will pull out a picnic table and every Pokémon on their team, allowing everyone to roam around. Interact with the Pokémon you want to make more friendly and you can Wash them, boosting their Friendliness towards you as you scrub them off.

The Soothe Bell

Boosting Friendship levels can take a while, though you can speed things up a bit by giving your Pokémon a Soothe Bell. When held by a Pokémon the Soothe Bell will increase the gains of all of the activities listed above. (They have no other function, so if you're in a tough battle you may want to swap the Soothe Bell out for a different held item.) 

Soothe Bells can be purchased at any Delibird Presents for 5,000 P / LP. Delibird Presents look like convenience stores, and can be found in towns throughout Paldea, most notably Mesogaza.

Measuring Friendship

There are no visible, numerical indications in the games of your Pokémon's Friendliness score. That said, there are two ways to get a rough idea of how your Pokémon feels towards you.

If you travel to the town of Cascarrafa in the west of Paldea you'll find a woman with a Marill who can measure the Friendship levels of your Pokémon. She's standing near the fountain in the middle of town, near an elevator, and she'll give you a quick, verbal evaluation of your standing with your Pokémon. If you've maxed out your Friendship with a Pokémon she will give it a Friendship Ribbon to denote your powerful bond.

The other indicator of Friendship comes during Picnics. If you speak to your Pokémon - and sometimes while you're washing them - a series of pink hearts may appear over their heads. The more hearts there are, the more the Pokémon likes you.

Reducing Friendship

Yes, it's possible for the Friendship scores of your Pokémon to drop. There are two ways for this to happen:
  • Let your Pokémon get knocked out in battle. An unconscious Pokémon is an unhappy Pokémon. Restore your Pokémon with Potions, or remove it from the fight, before this can happen.
  • Feed your Pokémon 'bitter' medicines such as Energy Roots, Energy Powders, and Heal Powders. These restorative items are inexpensive, but your Pokémon won't like them one bit. In general it's best to just avoid bitter items unless you're specifically trying to lower your Friendship score with your Pokémon. You can tell if an item is considered bitter by checking its item description

Friendship Evolutions

In most cases you'll want to raise Friendship scores in order to evolve Pokémon. Once your Pokémon reaches an appropriate level of Friendship they will evolve the next time they gain a level, regardless of how it was accomplished (direct battle, being on the team, using a XP Candy / Rare Candy, via a Picnic, etc). The Pokémon you can evolve via Friendship are as follows:
  • Azurill (Marill)
  • Chansey (Blissey)
  • Eevee (Espeon, during the day)
  • Eevee (Umbreon, during the night)
  • Eevee (Sylveon, with a Fairy-type move in its moveset)
  • Igglybuff (Jigglypuff)
  • Pichu (Pikachu)
  • Snom (Frosmoth, during the night)
  • Riolu (Lucario, during the day)