Husbands and wives and other self linking tables

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I have a contacts table including individual contact records for people who are married or partnered to one another. I created a “partner” column that links to the “name” column, so I can easily update Joe’s record to note that his partner is Jane. But then when I look at Jane’s record it still shows her without a partner, so I have to do the same thing all over again, updating her record to note that she is married to Joe.

Is it possible to automate this and/or to make that “partnered” relationship extend to both partners? The Airtable beginner’s guide addresses this issue and suggests there is a way to “create self-linking linked record fields” BUT I cannot seem to figure out how to do that. Please help

thank you

6 Replies 6
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

AirTable will create bi-directional links to records across multiple tables, but not inside the same table. For example:

Table: Husbands
Record ID: John; Wife: Jane (links bi-directionally)

Table: Wives
Record ID: Jane; Husband: John (links bi-directionally)


Table: People
Record ID: John; Partner: Jane (Linked to below)
Record ID: Jane; Partner: N/A (You have to manually link to the above record)

Thanks Izaac! It’s not really feasible to create separate tables for contacts. I wonder if there’s a way to trick it – like to set up a dummy contacts table that is a copy of the master contacts table, and use that to supply what I’m looking for in the bi-directional link. I feel like it should be possible but I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. Any thoughts?

This must be something lots of Airtable users need. Like what if you are dealing with a company and you mark that Belinda is the supervisor/employer of Bill and Darrell and Claude — obviously it’s a pain to then go to Bill’s record and Darrell’s record and Claude’s record to note that Belinda is the supervisor for each of them. Or if you’re planning a wedding, and you want Amy to sit at the same table with Genevieve and Cyril and Brandon and Shontel and Yiyun – do you really need to go to each of those six records and add five contacts to each one? That’s making 30 steps out of what should only take 6.

Anybody out there find a good way to make bi-directional links in Airtable?

I think that the best way to set this up would be to use a separate table to store relationships. For example:

Table 1: People
Fields/Columns: Name, Email, Phone Number, Relationships

Table 2: Relationships
Fields/Columns: Family Name, People Involved (you would put multiple people in the same field)

Similarly, for supervisors:

Table 1: Employees
Fields/Columns: Name, Email, Phone Number, Job Title

Table 2: Job Title
Fields/Columns: Job Title, Supervisor, People who report to this supervisor

And for tables:

Table 1: Guests
Fields/Columns: Name, Email, Phone Number, Table Number

Table 2: Tables
Fields/Columns: Table Number, People at the table

ok, ok, now I’m getting somewhere! This does indeed give me the ability to create a mutual family relationship that attaches to multiple family members ‘automatically’. Now the fun part: to figure out how to use that in hotel reservations, flight bookings, donations, etc… Thanks for your help Izaac!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I know this has kind of been dropped, but I want to second that I would love for linked records fields that link to the same table to be reflexive (or at least have the option for it).