Pokémon Crystal Friendship Guide + How To Max Friendship Fast

The friendship checker in Goldenrod City

Friendship, also called Happiness, is a hidden stat in Pokémon Crystal that represents the strength of your bond with your Pokémon.

But you won’t find Friendship on your Pokémon’s stat page. Instead you’ll have to talk to a Friendship Rater in Goldenrod City to find out.

The main use of Friendship is helping certain Pokémon evolve. High Friendship is also useful to unlock certain Technical Machines and powering-up a couple of moves.

In this guide we’ll cover how Friendship works, what causes it to increase, and why you should bother caring about your Pokémon’s Friendship level.

How To Check a Pokémon’s Friendship

There’s no straightforward way to visualize your Pokémon’s exact Friendship level. But we can get an approximation by talking to certain NPCs in Goldenrod City.

The Goldenrod Friendship Rater

The main Friendship Rater NPC can be found in a small house on the eastern side of the main road in Goldenrod City.

From the Pokémon Center, get on the main road and go north. Then, turn right before reaching the railroad tracks.

Heading toward the Friendship Rater from the Pokémon Center. / Pokémon Crystal
Heading toward the Friendship Rater from the Pokémon Center.

Follow this road as it turns south, and you’ll see the Friendship Rater’s house right there.

Approaching the Friendship Rater’s house. / Pokémon Crystal
Approaching the Friendship Rater’s house.

Talk to the girl in the blue dress to check your Pokémon’s bond with you. Make sure the Pokémon you want to check is a the top of your party.

Friendship Rater checks out the first Pokémon in the party. / Pokémon Crystal
Friendship Rater checks out the first Pokémon in the party.

She won’t give you numbers, but here’s a table that translates what each of her comments means:

Goldenrod Friendship Checker Comments
Comment Approx. Friendship
It looks really happy! It must love you a lot. 250-255 (max.)
I get the feeling that it really trusts you. 200-249
It’s friendly toward you. It looks sort of happy. 150-199
It’s quite cute. 100-149
You should treat it better. It’s not used to you. 50-99
It doesn’t seem to like you at all, it looks mean. 0-49

Dept. Store Friendship Rater (Sundays Only)

The other Friendship Rater NPC is available at the Goldenrod Dept. Store (5F) on Sundays.

Tip: You can check the day of the week by going into the START menu and checking your PokéGear.

She’s the woman in a red dress standing behind the counter on the fifth floor. She’s next to the usual clerk.

Approaching the Friendship Rater in the Goldenrod Dept. Store, 5F. / Pokémon Crystal
Approaching the Friendship Rater in the Goldenrod Dept. Store, 5F.

Talk to her, and she’ll tell you one of three things about the first Pokémon in your party:

Dept. Store Friendship Rater Comments
Comment Approx. Friendship
It’s very attached to you. This move should be perfect for a pair like you. 150-255 (max.)
It’s adorable! You should teach it good TM moves. 50-149
It looks evil. How about this TM for it? 0-49

The fun part about this Friendship Rater is that she’ll give you a Technical Machine depending on your results:

These moves deal damage depending on your Pokémon’s Friendship level.

How To Raise and Lower Friendship

Friendship can rise and fall in reaction to various things like leveling up a Pokémon, giving it vitamins, or even just walking with it in your party.

Below we’ll list all the actions that can increase friendship & decrease friendship.

Note: Most Pokémon start at 70 Friendship, but Pokémon that you hatch from eggs begin at 120 Friendship. Remember this as you figure out how to max out your Pokémon’s happiness.

How To Increase Friendship

The following actions will make your Pokémon happier and deepen your Friendship. Keep in mind that the effects change as your Pokémon’s Friendship rises.

So the numbers you see in the right column under “Effect on Friendship” are based on your Pokémon’s current friendship level. The higher it is, the less it’ll usually gain from certain actions.

Raising Friendship
Action Effect on Friendship
0-99 100-199 200-255
Catch with Friend Ball Starts at 200
Level Up (while in the party) +5 +3 +2
Level Up where you caught your Pokémon +10 +6 +4
Use a Vitamin (Ex. Calcium) +5 +3 +2
Defeat a Gym Leader, Elite Four, or Red* +3 +2 +1
Walking 512 steps* +1
Use a Technical Machine +1 +0
Use a Battle Item (Ex. X Attack) +1 +0
*Affects all Pokémon in your party.

But one of the best ways to raise Friendship levels is to groom your Pokémon at one of the grooming NPCs: the Haircut Brothers or at Daisy Oak’s house.

Grooming Your Pokémon for Higher Friendship

You can groom your Pokémon at one of two locations: with Daisy Oak at Pallet Town or with one of the Haircut Brothers in the Goldenrod Underground.

You’ll find Daisy Oak inside Blue’s House in Kanto’s Pallet Town – she offers massages between 3PM-4PM each day.

Daisy Oak offers to groom a Pokémon for free. / Pokémon Crystal
Daisy Oak offers to groom a Pokémon for free.

And the Haircut Brothers run their business in the Goldenrod Underground.

The younger Haircut Brother welcomes us to the Pokémon Salon. / Pokémon Crystal
The younger Haircut Brother welcomes us to the Pokémon Salon.

Depending on the day of the week, you’ll bump into the older or younger brother at their salon. Here’s a list of when they’re available:

  • Monday: Unavailable
  • Tuesday: Older
  • Wednesday: Younger
  • Thursday: Older
  • Friday: Younger
  • Saturday: Older
  • Sunday: Younger

These grooming NPCs can only groom one Pokémon a day. Here’s what they offer for increasing friendship:

Pokémon Stylist Comparison
Stylist Effect on Friendship
0-199 200-255
Younger Haircut Brother +1 to +10 +1 to +4
Older Haircut Brother +1 to +5 +1 to +2
Daisy Oak +3 +1

As you can see, the amount of Friendship gained from the Haircut Brothers varies. This is mostly random, but some results are more likely than others.

You’ll know how it went based on their comments as they return your Pokémon.

Haircut Brother comments on the results of his work. / Pokémon Crystal
Haircut Brother comments on the results of his work.

Here’s a look at the older brother’s performance:

Older Brother (500 PokéDollars)
Comment Odds Effect on Friendship
0-199 200-255
X looks a little happier. 30% +1
X looks happy. 50% +3 +1
X looks delighted! 20% +5 +2

And then there’s the younger brother:

Younger Brother (300 PokéDollars)
Comment Odds Effect on Friendship
0-199 200-255
X looks a little happier. 60% +1
X looks happy. 30% +3 +1
X looks delighted! 10% +10 +4

How To Decrease Friendship

The following actions will make your Pokémon unhappy and lower its Friendship level:

Lowering Friendship
Action Effect on Friendship
0-99 100-199 200-255
Faint (Foe is less than 30 levels higher) -1
Faint (Foe is 30 levels higher or more) -5 -10
Faint (Outside of battle. Ex: Poison) -5 -10
Use EnergyPowder or Heal Powder -5 -10
Use Energy Root -10 -15
Use Revival Herb -15 -20

Fastest Ways to Raise Friendship

Generally speaking, the fastest way to max out friendship in Pokémon Crystal is to keep feeding your Pokémon battle items over & over. You can mix in other methods too (like the Pokémon groomers or leveling up) but battle items can be purchased in large quantities and fed repeatedly in one sitting.

Below we’ll cover a couple great methods to raise friendship quickly for any Pokémon in your party.

#1: Level Up at the Pokémon’s Catch Location

The first thing you want to do after catching a Pokémon is level up a few times in the same area. This works even if the Pokémon went straight to the Box.

Just go pick them up from Bill’s PC at the Pokémon Center and come back to train where you caught them.

Tip: You can check where you caught a Pokémon by talking to the Poké Seer at her house in northern Cianwood City.

Leveling up three times (+30) should get you to 100 Friendship already. After that, you’ll get diminishing returns with this method.

#2: Give Your Pokémon Battle Items

One of the fastest tricks to raise Friendship in Pokémon Crystal is feeding your Pokémon a bunch of Battle Items. These would mostly include X-items since they’re cheap and easy to acquire.

Here’s how this trick works:

You’ll need 350 PokéDollars to buy each X Speed or X Special at the Goldenrod Dept. Store’s third floor (3F).

Facing the clerk at the Goldenrod Dept. Store, 3F. / Pokémon Crystal
Facing the clerk at the Goldenrod Dept. Store, 3F.

This means 350 PokéDollars for each +1 Friendship level.

What you want to do is get into a fight with a weak Pokémon, such as Magikarp or Metapod, and start using your Battle Items non-stop.

Tip: Even after the Pokémon’s battle stat is maxed from the battle items, you’ll still get the increased Friendship levels. So you can keep going until your Pokémon or the opponent’s Pokémon passes out.

Here’s how much it would cost to reach different Friendship milestones through this method exclusively:

Raising Friendship with Battle Items
Milestone Total Friendship Needed Total Cost
Getting TM27 Return (150) + 80 (starting at 70) 28,000 PokéDollars
Friendship Evolution (220) + 150 (starting at 70) 52,500 PokéDollars
Max Friendship (255) + 185 (starting at 70) 64,750 PokéDollars

Tip: A similar method (albeit much more expensive) can be done by giving your Pokémon Vitamins.

Benefits of High Friendship

There are three main reasons to keep an eye on your Pokémon’s Friendship level and try to maximize it.

  1. Evolution via Friendship
  2. Getting certain TMs from a Pokémon with high Friendship
  3. Using certain moves related to Friendship

Evolving a Pokémon via high friendship is probably the main reason you’ll want to keep your Pokémon happy. But we’ll cover all of these reasons in detail below.

Friendship Evolutions

The Pokémon listed below will evolve only after achieving 220 Friendship and leveling up once:

Pokémon that Evolve via Friendship
Base Form Evolution
Chansey Blissey
Cleffa Clefairy
Eevee Espeon (during the Day)
Eevee Umbreon (during the Night)
Golbat Crobat
Igglybuff Jigglypuff
Pichu Pikachu
Togepi Pikachu

TMs Obtained Through Friendship

A few TMs can be acquired by getting a Pokémon to a certain Friendship level and then talking to an NPC:

Getting TMs With Friendship
Technical Machine Required Friendship NPC
TM21 Frustration <50 Dept. Store Friendship Rater
TM27 Return 150+ Dept. Store Friendship Rater
TM37 Sandstorm 150+ Woman in a house on Route 27

Moves That Use Friendship

Two moves can weaponize high and low Friendship levels:

  • Return deals more damage with higher Friendship.
  • Frustration deals more damage with lower Friendship.

So, which one is better?

  • Above 127 Friendship: Use Return. Damage is calculated by dividing Friendship by 2.5. This means that Return’s max Power is a solid 100.
  • Under 127 Friendship: Use Frustation. Damage is calculated by subtracting Friendship from 255, then dividing the result by 2.5. Max damage remains close to 100.

Nelson Chitty

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Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.

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