The player's friendship level can be increased by doing things that make them feel better, such as sending them presents or doing favors for them. Conversely, acting rudely toward the villager, such as by insulting them or neglecting to do the favors they request lowers friendship. Contrary to popular belief, abusing villagers with a net and other means of abuse does not lower the player's friendship with the villager. Instead, they are placed on the friendship ladder, remaining stationary until an act of kindness or negativity is done upon them.
When the player waves at a villager in City Folk, the villager responds in a way that indicates their friendship level. In order to wave at a villager, the player taps them with the Wii remote when they are about five spaces away from them. A villager who dislikes the player will ignore them or scowl, and a villager who is friends with the player will wave or bow back.
In New Leaf, there are various indicators as to the level of friendship between the player and a villager. For example, villagers with a medium to high level of friendship will send presents to the player spontaneously, or even give them in person. Villagers with a very high level of friendship will visit the player's house unannounced, bring presents to the players house, and may even ask the player to bring them rare fish or bugs. Furthermore, villager who feel friendly with the player will wave or bow when called using the megaphone.