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In Animal Crossing: New Horizons my son accidentally told one of his villagers that they should "follow their dreams" when they said they wanted to leave. He'd actually like them to stay.

Is there a way to cancel their move and get them to remain on the island?

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Once you answer their question about moving or staying, the decision has been made. In the coming days that islander will pack up and leave. The only way to get them back is through amiibo cards, they come back to a campsite, or you find them again on a Nook island.

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You actually can stop your villagers from leaving after telling them they should leave!

According to Reddit user u/deenew, if you talk to the villager who is leaving on the same day that they told you they were leaving on a second player profile, you will get the "should I stay?" option again on the second player. Once you've told them not to go on the second profile, you can return on your resident rep profile, and they will inform you that they've had a change of heart and decided to stay.

Audie telling the player "I decided to stay since Pls Stay asked me not to move away!"

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    Note that this does not apply when a villager gets bumped because you invited a camper. In this case, the bumped villager immediately starts packing the same day and you cannot revert this. I'm the second player on our Switch and talking to the bumped villager did not give me the option to revert their status. – Flater May 11 at 12:12

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