Your guide to Stardew Valley gifts, hearts, and friendships

By Steven Rondina


Oct 16, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

A big part of Stardew Valley is getting to know the game’s many NPCs and building up relationships with them. Unfortunately, the game gives very little direction in terms of how best to manage this.

There are a handful of important tips that can make things go much more smoothly. Here’s all you need to know about friendship in Stardew Valley, how to build up relations with the citizens of Pelican Town, and a Stardew Valley gift guide to get the ball rolling.

How does friendship work in Stardew Valley?

Friendship in Stardew Valley works on a simple point system. Each NPC has a friendship bar made up of 10 hearts, or 14 hearts for the player’s spouse. Each heart is equivalent to 250 friendship points.

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Players gain and lose friendship points based on their interactions with NPCs, or non-interactions. Talking and giving gifts are the go-to methods for increasing friendship with NPCs. Not talking with NPCs on a daily basis damages friendship, as does giving disliked gifts or being caught while rummaging through garbage.

Stardew Valley gift guide

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Each NPC has a unique set of preferences when it comes to gifts, with NPCs loving anywhere from two to 11 gifts and potentially hating many more. Here are the best options to quickly raise friendship levels with certain NPCs:

While each NPC has their own favorite items, there are certain items that are almost universally loved or hated. Prismatic Shards, Rabbit’s Feed, Golden Pumpkins, Magic Rock Candies, and Pearls are loved by almost all NPCs in the game. Meanwhile, some tools and resources like copper ore, torches, and Crab Pots will damage friendship.

The Stardew Valley wiki has the most comprehensive list of ideal and inadvisable gift items.

How do you befriend villagers in Stardew Valley?

Players become friends with villagers by interacting with them in most every possible way. The list of ways to improve your relationship with villagers includes:

  • Talking with them
  • Giving them gifts they like
  • Completing requests for them
  • Give good answers to them during heart events
  • Completing certain objectives during festivals

A player can hypothetically achieve a maximum friendship level with a non-romanceable villager simply by talking with them every day for a long enough time. Worth noting is that this takes an extremely long time, so giving gifts and completing requests is a huge shortcut in improving relationships.

While talking, gift-giving, and completing requests can be done year-round, there are other opportunities to earn hearts that only come up once per year or even once per save. Dancing with someone at the Flower Dance, improving the soup at the luau, and giving a good gift in the secret santa event all offer players the chance to improve their relationships with one or more NPCs.

Finally, during certain heart events players might be given a set of options to respond to a question. Certain answers may improve or damage relationships with NPCs.

Can you lose hearts?

Various things can decay a players’ relationship with NPCs, and if things decay far enough, they can lose hearts. Here are some of the things that can hurt the player’s relationship with NPCs:

  • Not talking with NPCs on a regular basis
  • Giving gifts that the NPC dislikes
  • Giving bad answers during heart events
  • Searching garbage cans while they’re nearby
  • Ruining the luau soup

Relationships with NPCs decay naturally in Stardew Valley, with players losing a certain number of points each day when they don’t speak to an NPC. This is relatively minor for non-romanced characters, but players’ friendships with characters they have given a bouquet to or married decay much more rapidly.

Alongside the gradual delay that comes with not interacting with NPCs are larger and more sudden drops. The most common way for this to happen is giving NPCs a gift they don’t like. Each NPC has a set of gifts they dislike, but most characters will be angered if given items such as hay, copper ore, and green algae. It’s worth looking up a Stardew Valley gift guide to guarantee that disliked gifts aren’t handed out.

Relationships can also be damaged during certain heart events by giving bad answers to questions or if players are caught by NPCs rummaging through garbage cans. Players can also damage their relationship with every NPC that lives in Pelican Town by sabotaging the luau soup. This can be done by adding sap to the soup.

Does quality affect gifts in Stardew Valley?

Higher-quality gifts give greater yields of friendship points than normal. A multiplier is used to add to the quality of the friendship points gained from giving the item as a gift. The quality multiplier breaks down thusly:

  • Regular quality: 1.00
  • Silver quality: 1.10
  • Gold quality: 1.25
  • Iridium quality: 1.50

There are also multipliers based on specific events. Birthdays will multiply the friendship points gained by eight while giving someone a gift through the secret santa during the Feast of the Winter Star applies a multiplier of five.

What do gray hearts mean?

Gray hearts in Stardew Valley means that players are walled off from advancing their friendship with a character further. This is seen with bachelors and bachelorettes that the player isn’t currently romantically involved with. Players can remedy this by giving the characters a bouquet to start a romantic relationship.

But be warned! Players who are dating multiple NPCs at the same time can face some ugly and unfortunate consequences. Players ought to commit to raising up their relationship with just one romantic partner unless they’re ready to start wiping memories.


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