We define the following so-called “friendship levels”:
- FL0, Knowledge. You know the other person’s name or face and remember where you’ve met them, if at all. You have no feelings for them and only those who don’t know the word “acquaintance” would call you friends.
- FL1, Acquaintance. You know the other person’s name, look and maybe some hobbies. You may be aware of their daily routine but you might not. Their personality is mostly unknown to you and they share no secrets with you. You often like to be in their company, if it’s convenient for you. You might share an educational institution or place of work.
- FL2, Weak Friendship. In addition to FL1 knowledge, you are usually able to describe their behaviour in broad strikes. You have some shared history. They usually make your life more pleasant, perhaps by merely being around. When something bad happens to them, you would feel pain or momentary sadness, beyond simple courtesy requirements, although their death or permanent loss of communication would not affect you. You may do some activities together, such as a hobby, and you generally like the other person.
- FL3, Strong Friendship. In addition, the other person trusts you with some personal secrets. You may discuss issues of personal importance such as life goals or relationships. You could describe the other person quite well on multiple levels. You generally provide help to them if they ask for it without expectation of compensation. You sometimes go to them for help and usually expect it to be given. Moments you share with them are in most cases happier than other times. If they are hurt, you share their misery and provide assistance. Their death will have adverse effects on you, but these will in most cases be temporary.
- FL4, Companionship. You speak to each other freely. The other person will generally not hesitate to answer any personal question you ask of them fully and verily and you will reciprocate. You are fond of the other person and your thoughts of them are positive most of the time. Being with them makes you often happy. You help each other routinely. You may or may not share accommodations, but you will in most cases share some common interests and personality traits. When they ask for immediate assistance, you will provide it unless you’re truly occupied (for example, in the office). As an example, if they ask for you to come to them, you will do so, even if it’s in the middle of the night, they’re fifty miles away and you don’t know their reason. You may consider some of their failures to be yours. Their death may have lasting psychological consequences for your health. By most definitions of the word, you love the other person, even though you may not call it that way. You may be in a romantic relationship with the other person.
- FL5, Strong Companionship. You share your memories, emotions, secrets, plans and other thoughts freely and often. You love the other person and your love is reciprocated. They might sometimes prefer your company to that of their romantic partner, if any. You are willing to expend considerable resources to help the other person without expecting reciprocation and you do so gladly. If they request immediate assistance, even without giving a reason, you will immediately cease whatever you’re doing and assist them. This might include, for example, cancelling a date or abandoning a work meeting. They are near the top of the list of items you care about. If they are hurt, you may less able to concentrate until they get better. If they die or your bond with them breaks for any other reason, you will be severely negatively affected and may become depressed for a significant period of time. You are likely to be involved in a romantic relationship with them. If you are not, and yet there are in a relationship, their affection for you might still be greater than for their partner.
- FL6, Adoration. In addition to FL5, you love the other person utterly, albeit perhaps in a non-romantic and non-sexual fashion. You routinely expend resources or undertakes sacrifices to accomplish their goals or to make them happy. If need be, you will sacrifice your life and die so that they might live or perhaps just be happy. They command your absolute honesty and loyalty. You know each other well and it’s very unlikely for you to be at FL6 while the other person is at FL4 or lower. Their death will have catastrophic consequences for you. If their friendship level with you deteriorates suddenly, you will also be direly affected.
Notes on frequency: Most persons are unlikely to have an FL4 or stronger relationship. FL3-style relationships are fairly rare as well. Marriages usually occur between two persons who both have an FL4 relationship towards each other, though FL3 marriages are far from uncommon.
Notes on animal friendship: These levels cover only relationships between human beings. Affection for animals is described later in the User’s Guide (see section Animal Friendship under the chapter Nature-related Skills). The Animal Friendship levels range from AL0 to AL3 and are usually significantly more one-sided.
Notes on reciprocation: A common mistake by new players is to assume that friendship levels are identical for both people in the relationship. That is not so. For many relationships, you and the other person will not have identical friendship levels. However, they will usually differ by +1 or -1 at most. A relationship where your levels differ by 2 or more is said to be “in Disharmony” and the person with the higher friendship level will suffer negative modifiers (see Human Interaction Consequences, subsection 43).
Notes on antipathy: As another person’s friendship level with you rises, so does their Feeling Level for you. The Feeling Level is an auxiliary statistic that contributes to both their Friendship Level and their Antipathy Level. The full rules for Antipathy are described in the Complete Guide to Evil, but the basics you need to know now are: one, some effects may directly convert a person’s friendship score into antipathy; two, a high Antipathy Level unlocks towards you the use of some high-level skills such as Sabotage or Vengeful Action. Please browse through the chapter Tools and Strategies for Maintaining an Alignment, Level or Other Statistic to prevent this from occurring.
“Friendly” advice (haha): If you are a new player, you may be disoriented by all the options and intricacies of the friendship system. That is a common feeling. Please do not despair. Instead read subsections 4 to 21 in the chapter Point-Based Relationship System. While the PBRS is a simple model that does not apply under the Realistic difficulty settings, most of the tips to earn points will still serve to increase the other person’s friendship level and, to a lesser extent, your own friendship level towards them. We suggest the smart reader first apply the technique “Compliment Other” which has only a small chance of failure and scores a point under PBRS automatically.
— User’s Manual to Life: A Game,
chapter 211, Interpersonal Relationships,
subchapter 3, Friendship,
section 1, Definitions,
subsection 2, Friendship Levels