Animal Crossing: New Horizons has an amazing ability to bring us all together in this time where we're all so disparate and separate. It's brutal dealing with a global lockdown, but we can deal with it in Animal Crossing with ease.

Of course, if you want to play with friends, you will need to add them as a friend, use friend codes, and even then you won't be able to instantly visit them or send gifts. But that's why we've put this guide together.

Here you will find out everything you need to know about adding friends, visiting friends, sending them letters, gifts, sharing flowers, and more.

But first, a word of warning: in order to perform everything listed in this guide online, you will need an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Currently, Nintendo is offering free trials, even if you've used a trial in the past, so get on that, download Tetris 99, and get ready to play Animal Crossing with friends.

How to add and visit friends online

You probably want to visit your friends online, like most people. You will need to visit your friends before you can send them letters or gifts, so get this out of the way first…

  • Go to your profile menu by selecting your profile icon in the top left of your Switch home screen.
  • On the Profile tab you'll find your Friend Code. You can share this with friends to add them.
  • If you have a Friend Code, you can enter it in the Add Friend tab.
  • Once you are added as friends start up Animal Crossing: New Horizons and head to the airport.
  • If you want your friend to visit you, tell the Dodo at the desk of the airport that you want visitors, play online, and then open your gate to all of your friends.
  • Tell your friend, and then they will tell the Dodo at their airport that they want to fly, visit friends, play online, and then they can select your town.

You can alternatively go about this another way, and visit a friend - or have a friend visit you - via a Dodo code - a one-time use code which you can send to friends to have them visit you.

  • Go to the airport, ask for visitors, and play online.
  • Select to invite visitors via a Dodo Code.
  • Open your gate to anyone - "The more the merrier!"
  • Send the code only to people you wish to visit your island.
  • They will also visit the airport to input the code you gave them, or vice versa.
  • Once you have visited one another, you can add your friend from your Nintendo Switch Profile menu. In the Add Friend tab, you can add friends you have recently played with, which is where you will find your friend.
  • Once they've accepted, you're all done!

How to send gifts and letters

The most important part of this puzzle is the point above. Even if you have a friend added to your Nintendo Switch friend list, you will not be able to send them gifts or letters in-game until you have visited them once. Once you have done that, you have several options…

  • To send a friend a gift or a letter, head to the airport, and check the card stand next to the desk.
  • It will cost 200 bells. Choose a friend from the list of friends you've visited or had visit you in the past.
  • Here you can choose a card design, and write a letter to your friend.
  • Once you've written your letter, you can attach an item from your inventory to it.
  • Your Nintendo Switch will briefly connect to the internet, and then you're done!

Alternatively, you can also send a gift directly from your catalogue. To do this…

  • Open either the Nook Shopping App in your NookPhone, or the Nook Shopping utility in Resident Services.
  • Select an item from the catalogue, and then choose 'Send as gift.'
  • Select your friend. You will have a default gift card message, but you can edit this if you wish.
  • Your Nintendo Switch will briefly connect to the internet, and then you will pay for the item and you're done!

How to add Best Friends

Right, before you add any best friends, you will already need to have visited your friend as detailed above. Once this is done, you'll find your interactivity on your friend's island is somewhat limited. If you want to be able to dig holes (to share flowers, not cause havoc) on your friend's island, then you will both need to be Best Friends.

Be aware: you should be careful whom you add to your list of Best Friends. Make sure you trust them not to steal your good flowers or attempt to ruin your island's decor. I learnt that lesson when I let my girlfriend loose with a shovel.

  • After you've had a friend visit your island, open up the Best Friends app in your NookPhone
  • Here you will see a list of friends that have visited you, or that you have visited. You can select one and attempt to add them as a Best Friend. They may reject you, so be aware of that.
  • Once they've accepted you, you will be able to dig holes on their island and you're afforded a bit more interactivity.

Just make sure to only add people you trust as Best Friends!