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Will my relationships with the residents of Pelican Town degrade over time if I don't talk with them for a while? If so, how quickly does it degrade?

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Yes, relationships degrade over time if the friendship points were not maxed out. -2 points per day when ignored. +20 per day when talked to. Maxed-out friendship levels will not decay as of patch 1.07.

According to the Stardew Valley wiki:

The social tab in your menu shows your current relationship with each villager Each person shows a row of 10 hearts indicating your relationship with them. If you're married, your spouse will have 12 hearts instead.

The hearts will fill up or decrease over time as you talk to people and gift them. You can give each person up to 2 gifts per week, as indicated by the checkboxes to the right of their entry in the social tab. Each heart represents 250 friendship points. Speaking to a villager gives 20 points once per day, while ignoring them for a day gives -2 points, so don't ignore your friends!

Each villager has their own individual likes/dislikes. The more they like a gift, the more invisible points you will get towards filling in a heart; A loved gift is worth 80 points and a liked gift is worth 45. Be careful, as gifting someone something they hate can also cause hearts to go down.

Successfully completing a quest that states it will make the villager happy is worth 150 friendship points on immediate turn-in.

Giving a villager a loved gift on their birthday nets you 640 friendship points (8x the value of a loved gift on a normal day) - it pays to keep some diamonds around for those hard to please types. Even a liked Birthday gift will net you 360 friendship points, so keeping an eye on the calendar helps.

3
  • Do you have to finish the conversation (if they have multiple things to say?) in order to get the points / avoid the penalty? Mar 27 '16 at 18:03
  • No, just talking to them one time is fine.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Mar 28 '16 at 13:45
  • 4
    It might be worth mentioning that as of 1.07, maxed-out relationships no longer degrade over time (see the 11th bullet point here)
    – Brysonic
    Apr 20 '16 at 20:22

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