There are a few different ways to add someone as a friend on the Nintendo Switch, ranging from the notoriously fiddly 12-digit Friend Codes to simply adding people sharing your Wi-Fi network - with more methods on the way too.

Still, the Switch’s minimalist UI doesn’t always make it obvious how to go about adding friends, so we’ve rounded up all the methods available right now, as well as Nintendo’s plans for the future.

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How to add friends on the Switch

First up, you’ll need to access your User Page on the Switch itself. Double-tap your User icon on the top left of the home screen to get to your personal profile, from which you can see your Friend List and the option to add new friends.

If you haven’t already, you’ll have to link your User page to a Nintendo Account. If you already have one, it’s just a matter of signing into the account from your Switch, but if not you’ll have to create one. You can’t actually do that from the Switch itself, so instead follow our guide to creating a Nintendo Account, and once you’re done you can sign in from the console.

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Add friends using Friend Codes

Everyone’s least favourite way of adding friends online is back with the Switch, and just as clunky as ever. At launch, Friend Codes are the default way of adding friends for Nintendo’s online service, so here’s how to use them.

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First, you’ll need one of your friends to send you their 12-digit Friend Code, listed under the Profile section of their User page. Alternatively, you can grab your own code from your page and send it to them, but you don’t both need to do so.

Once you have their code, head to your User page, and go to Add Friends, and then select ‘Search with Friend Codes’. Simply type in the 12-digit code, and with a bit of luck you should see their profile pop up - if so, you simply hit ‘Send Friend Request’, and they should get a notification on their console. Mostly painless, except for the faff of sending each other the code in the first place.

Add nearby friends

Far easier (depending on geography) is the new option to add friends whose Switch consoles are connected to the same Wi-Fi network as yours. You’ll find this option under ‘Search for Local Users’, which will ask each of you to pick a matching symbol to verify that you want to add each other - you should then be able to see each other’s profiles.

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Add friends you've played with online

The ‘Search for Users You Played With’ option will let you see a list of people you’ve played with online to add them as friends, so if you trounce someone in Mario Kart you’ll be able to add them and make sure you can beat them all over again.

Add friends from Nintendo smartphone games

Another way to add friends on the Switch is tied even more closely to your Nintendo Account. If you’ve used the same account to play any of Nintendo’s recent mobile games, including Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes, you can quickly add any of your friends from those games on your Switch.

They’ll show up as ‘Suggested Friends’ on the main ‘Add a Friend’ page - just scroll down below the other options to find them. It’ll even let you know which game you know them from, to help avoid too much confusion.

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In the future: 3DS friends, social media, and more

Right now, these are all the ways that you can add friends on the Switch, but Nintendo has more plans. For one, the company said that some games will support the ability to add friends within the game - no doubt useful when you’re playing online and want to add someone you’ve just played a few rounds with.

The company will also be improving the ‘Suggested Friends’ section to include not only your friends from the Wii U and 3DS, but also friends from the social networking sites you’ve linked your Nintendo Account to, which will no doubt become the easiest way to add people you know from the real world.

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