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How to Win Friends and Influence People in Animal Crossing: New Horizons


Want to make your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island everyone’s favorite to visit? Here are some tips to make new friends and become the most popular denizen in your archipelago!

1. Choose the Southern Hemisphere.

You’ll have to make this choice before you get started, but it’s a big one: the chief reason for someone to visit another player’s island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is to acquire things that aren’t available on their own. Since most players (especially ones in English-speaking territories) reside in the Northern Hemisphere, having an island in the south is like choosing the less popular Pokémon entry: you have a whole host of wildlife that is, at least for a while, exclusive.

2. Build your shop close to the airport.

While your close friends on a first visit may wander around and see what you’ve done with the place, repeat visitors will largely be checking your shops for items they don’t have, as it’s the main thing that refreshes. (Or selling certain items at higher prices!) That first chunk of land before you can cross rivers tends to get crowded, so it’s good to plan out a spot right on the coastline for commerce.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons friends

3. Plant all the fruit trees – but don’t pick ’em.

The first thing most Animal Crossing: New Horizons players want as they’re building their islands is the full set of available fruit, as generally only one of the main ones is available to each town without trade. Being the one-stop shop to complete their collections? It’s a choice perk! Try to plant them near the airport, too: it’s a nice sight to new arrivals! Of course, you can grab a couple to sell or use, too, but try to leave at least a few of each available at any time.

4. Build ladders for new players.

The ability to visit others’ islands unlocks on the second day, but it takes a bit longer to make a ladder and explore the rest of your space. It can be frustrating to look above the cliffs and not be able to get that stuff. Be those players’ salvation in their hour (or like probably 24 hours) of need! They’ll be thankful to you, and though the game design is meant to not burn players out and there’s a structure of unlocks that you’re messing up, those players won’t blame you for making the game worse. They’ll blame the game for that! And you’ll reap the friendship dividends.

Animal Crossing New Horizons friends

5. Blitz toward Tom Nook’s goals.

While it may be fun to build whimsical things or make furniture for your home in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the more resources you pour into the next big in-game milestone, the faster you’ll get through the unlock tree and have more and more facilities for villagers. Grind Nook Miles and cash them in for tickets to strip-mine random islands for more resources like iron. Pay off your loans as fast as possible, even if you don’t need – or want! – the space, as upgrades sometimes come with extra game control options as bonuses. Remember: your friends will love you for it!

6. Leave your crucial resources for visitors.

Whether it’s the all-too-important Iron Nuggets or even seemingly-worthless weeds (some recipes need them!), daily resources are finite, and it’s harder and harder for players to grind Nook Miles to get more of them. If you’re only taking what you need for those critical path goals and leaving all the optional stuff for others, it’s a service! You could even, if you wanted to be super-helpful, gather all of these things and drop them off right in front of the airport.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons friends guide

7. Remember that this is supposed to be a fun thing for you and maybe enjoy yourself at least sometimes.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Graham Russell
Graham Russell, Siliconera's Managing Editor, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.