Automatic connections for multiple "People" records

Hi all -

Our company has a sheet specifically for “People,” where we create entries that identify a person, a description, and their contact information. Another component is “Connections” which is linked to the entire “People” database. Connections allows us to link two “People” together.

One thing we’ve been trying to figure out is how we might automatically link these connections once a connection is created from one person’s profile. Example:

We open Person A’s entry, and select Person B as a “connection,” and it is displayed on Person A’s profile. However, when you go to Person B’s profile, Person A is not listed as a “connection.”

Is there a way to automatically backlink connections between two people? Please ask clarifying questions if this doesn’t make sense. Thank you.

Unfortunately, no – records that are linked within the same table (both records are in the “People” table) do not create a reciprocal connection. I’ve tried to find ways around this as well, but there are no really great solutions that automatically fill in those links both ways within the same table.

One option you may want to explore would be to create a new Table called “Connections”. Each record(row) in the “Connections” table could represent a connection between two or more people. You’d have a “linked record” field in the “Connections” table going back to the “People” table that allows more than one linked record (more than one “Person”). From the “People” table, you can create a new “Connection” on a person, and link that Person as well as the other Person you want to connect them to. This “Connection” record will show up for BOTH people linked to it. And this would still allow you to define multiple “Connections” on a single person as well, where each “Connection” represents their relationship with another person/persons in the “People” table.

Wish they would add a feature to do so!

Thanks so much for your response and the proposed idea. That makes sense – I’m going to try that out and see what our team thinks. Appreciate your thoughts.

One question, do you have any insight into how we might translate the previously defined connections to this new table? Will the linking automatically recreate those connections? Or is it a “start from the beginning” situation.

Thanks again!

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I think it’s going to have to be a “start from the beginning” thing. Since the connections already made only contain a single name, a single link to a single record, and what you are wanting to create is a link to multiple records, I don’t see a quick and easy way to translate the one into the other.

Here’s a quick example you can look at/play around with:

I have a hard time imagining what that would look like. Currently, the reciprocity of a linked relationship between tables is exhibited by the creation of another linked record field in the table being linked to. Doing the same thing within a single table might result in confusion – there would be the automatic creation of another linked record field to the same table, within the same table. It might start to become confusing trying to understand which of those fields is the original definition of a linked relationship, and which is the reciprocal, and if it even matters. I wonder if it would be difficult to avoid duplicate relationship definitions, as well, if the same relationship was defined from each of the two “People” records, one going each direction…

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@Rebecca_Vangelos, @Jeremy_Oglesby - thought I’d offer this as a variation to Jeremy’s solution:

The difference is that the connections are defined in two columns:

Back in the People table you get two linked columns:

I’ve then added another field (a formula) that joins the two connection fields and removes the primary person (for that record) using:

SUBSTITUTE(Connections & IF(AND(Connections, {Connections 2}), ', ', '') & {Connections 2}, Name, '' )

(the funky stuff in the middle is to get the commas correct).

You end up with a comma separated string of the connections:

(Hide the two linked fields for a cleaner view).

JB

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