The Pokemon series has long been full of hidden stats that determine how powerful your Pokemon can be. IVs and EVs have governed Pokemon’s individual stats for generations, but in Pokemon Sword and Shield, there are two other, even more confusing values that affect your Pokemon: Friendship and Affection. In this Pokemon Sword and Shield Affection vs. Friendship guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about these stats those of you wondering “Why is my Pokemon shaking in battle?”
What’s the difference between Affection and Friendship/Happiness in Pokemon Sword and Shield?
Since “Friendship,” “Happiness,” “Affection,” and “Loyalty” all sound like pretty much the same thing, figuring out which is which can get very confusing. To help you sort everything out, we’ll first run down the differences between the two below.
What is Friendship?
Friendship is a hidden stat introduced in Pokemon Yellow. It affects the power of certain moves, but trainers most commonly pay attention to it because high Friendship is required to evolve the following new and returning Pokemon in Sword and Shield:
- Alolan Meowth into Alolan Persian
- Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon
- Pichu into Pikachu
- Cleffa into Clefairy
- Togepi into Togetic
- Budew into Roselia
- Munchlax into Snorlax
- Riolu into Lucario
- Woobat into Swoobat
- Type: Null into Silvally
- Snom into Frosmoth
Pokemon fans also commonly refer to Friendship as Happiness or Loyalty. If you see any in-game references to a Pokemon’s “happiness,” it is referring to Friendship; any reference you see to either a Pokemon’s “friendliness” or “happiness” always refers to Friendship rather than Affection.
What is Affection?
Affection is another hidden stat, introduced in Pokemon X and Y. It affects your Pokemon’s performance in battle, occasionally causing them to get critical hits or survive an attack that would have otherwise knocked them out. This is the stat that causes Pokemon to shake in battle. High Affection is required for only a single Pokemon evolution:
- Eevee into Sylveon
Affection does not have any other names. We have yet to see Affection directly referred to anywhere in-game. So, as stated above, if you see any reference to “friendship,” the game is talking about Friendship, not Affection.
What raises a Pokemon’s Friendship or Affection levels in Pokemon Sword and Shield?
Another major distinction between the two values is how they are raised or lowered. Read on for details.
How do you increase Friendship?
The following methods can be used to raise your Pokemon’s Friendship levels. While we can’t 100% confirm that a few of these raise Friendship (like stat-boosting item use, for example), they worked in past games and are unlikely to have changed for Sword and Shield.
- Cooking curry in Pokemon Camp raises Friendship, depending on the level of curry created.
- The highest-level curry, Charizard Class, makes Pokemon “very friendly” toward you. Check out our Charizard Class curry guide to learn more.
- Using a Friendship-raising berry on the Pokemon. The following berries raise Friendship:
- Giving a Pokemon the Soothe Bell to hold, which increases Friendship gained over time.
- Catching a Pokemon in a Luxury or Friend Ball, which both boost Friendship gains.
- Using a Pokemon in battle
- Traveling with a Pokemon in your Party
- Using stat-boosting consumables on a Pokemon, such as:
- Vitamins like HP Up, Protein, Iron, PP Up, etc.
- Rare Candy and EXP Candy
Possibly the quickest way to increase Friendship is to give a Pokemon the Soothe Bell, cook it some curry, play with it, cook it more curry, and the continue repeating that process. Friendship can also be lowered if the following actions are taken, however, so keep these in mind:
- Letting a Pokemon faint in battle.
- Using Herbal Medicine (such as Energy Powder or a Revival Herb) on a Pokemon.
- Using berries with bitter flavors on a Pokemon.
- Keeping the Pokemon in PC Box storage.
How do you increase Affection?
Unlike Friendship, Affection cannot be lowered, and the only known way of raising a Pokemon’s Affection in Pokemon Sword and Shield is to play with it at your Pokemon Camp. In the past, Affection was increased via the similar Pokemon Amie activity in X and Y and via Sun and Moon’s Pokemon Refresh.
How do you know if a Pokemon has high Friendship or Affection in Pokemon Sword and Shield?
Unfortunately, Pokemon Sword and Shield keep the level of your Pokemon’s Friendship and Affection stats hidden. There are no meters to track these stats, so you’ll instead have to visit out-of-the-way NPCs and look for specific signs in your Pokemon Camp.
How do you check your Pokemon’s Friendship level?
To check a Pokemon’s Friendship level, you have to visit the so-called “Friendship checker” NPC. The Friendship checker location can be found in the city of Hammerlocke, accessible after earning your third gym badge. Head to the house pictured above, across the street to the right of the Pokemon Center.
Inside, a young boy can tell you how any particular Pokemon feels about you. You can also get the Soothe Bell from another NPC in this same house.
How do you check your Pokemon’s Affection level?
While Pokemon Sun and Moon had an actual affection meter that you could reference, Sword and Shield do not. Instead, you’ll have to set up camp and call your Pokemon toward you. When it’s near, press A to “Speak” with it, then watch the number of hearts that pop up above its head. In Sun and Moon, the number of Affection hearts meant the following effects were applied, and these seem to be the same in Sword and Shield:
- Two hearts means the Pokemon will gain 1.2x experience from battles.
- Three hearts means the Pokemon has a chance of surviving attacks with 1 HP.
- Four hearts means the Pokemon has a chance of avoiding attacks (even ones with 100% accuracy) and/or recovering from status conditions (Asleep, Paralyzed, etc.) at the end of a turn.
- Five hearts means the Pokemon’s critical hit chance is doubled.
Even without entering Pokemon Camp and speaking with your Pokemon, however, you may still see the effects of high Affection. As mentioned above, Pokemon with Affection levels high enough to have a potential impact on battle will begin to shake/shudder from side to side when sent out in battle. If you see this happen, you’ll also likely see messages appear randomly at certain points in battle. These vary depending on your Pokemon’s level of Affection, so you can also use them to determine how high a Pokemon’s Affection is. You’ll probably see the following messages first, since they apply during the first level (two hearts) of affection.
- “[Your Pokemon] is thinking about camping…”
- “[Your Pokemon] is dozing off… It must be sleepy…”
- “[Your Pokemon] seems like it wants to be petted…”
- “[Your Pokemon] seems a little worried about being able to battle well…”
These may make it seem like your Pokemon is distracted and therefore will perform worse in battle, but don’t worry: Since they mean your Pokemon’s Affection is growing, it will actually start to perform even better soon.