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Defining Relationships with XFN


XFN™ stands for XHTML Friends Network. XFN™ (XHTML Friends Network) is a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks. WordPress makes it easier to represent the relationships you share with the owners or authors of other websites using XFN™. If you are linking to a website authored by your friend, you can represent this fact using the XFN™ framework, by adding a rel="friend" attribute to the link. Thus, using XFN™, machines that parse your webpages, as well as other humans, can see how you are related to the pages you link to.


  1. Other programs such as search engines and specialized services will be able to understand and display the relationships you share with other people, which is neat!
  2. Your weblog's content will be more semantic, thus expressing more meaning.

Using XFN

We recommend that you use XFN™ to better define your relationships and make your weblog more expressive, meaningful and machine-comprehensible.

When you add a new link in the Links Manager, you may specify the relationship you share in real life with the author of the page to which you're linking to. This will automatically add a rel="X" attirbute to the HTML code for the link (where X is the relationship you specify). The following XFN™ definitions are part of the vocabulary of XFN™. You can use any of the following definitions to specify relationships.

XFN Definitions

Descriptions of the XFN relationships were modified from those found at the XFN Getting Started page.

Use this checkbox if the link is to another of your own websites. This relationship is exclusive of all others.
These radio buttons allow you to specify one of four different types of friendships:
  • acquaintance - Someone with whom you have exchanged greetings and not much (if any) more -- maybe a short conversation or two.
  • contact - Someone with whom you know how to get in touch.
  • friend - Someone you consider a friend. A compatriot, buddy, home(boy|girl) that you know.
  • none - Use this if you want to leave the friendship category blank.
Check the met checkbox if this is someone whom you have actually met in person.
These two checkboxes allow you to specify your professional relationship with the author of the link's site.
  • co-worker - Someone with whom you work or someone who works at the same organization as you.
  • colleague - Someone in the same field of study or activity.
Use these three radio buttons to specify how you relate geographically to the author of the link's site.
  • co-resident - Someone with whom you share a street address. A roommate. A Flatmate. A member of your family living in the same home.
  • neighbor - Someone who lives nearby, perhaps only at an adjacent street address or doorway.
  • none - Use this if you want to leave the geographical category blank.
Six radio buttons to specify your familial relationship.
  • child - Your genetic offspring. Or someone that you have adopted and take care of.
  • kin - A relative. Someone you consider part of your extended family.
  • parent - Your progenitor. Or someone who has adopted and takes care (or took care) of you.
  • sibling - Someone with whom you share a parent.
  • spouse - Someone to whom you are married.
  • none - Use this if you want to leave the family category blank.
Use these four checkboxes to define how you are "romantically" related to the author of the site.
  • muse - Someone who brings you inspiration.
  • crush - Someone on whom you have a crush.
  • date - Someone you are dating.
  • sweetheart - Someone with whom you are intimate and at least somewhat committed, possibly exclusively.

Note:XFN relationships are optional for WordPress links. You can leave all the XFN options blank in the Links Manager, and the link will still work just fine.

An XFN Example

Suppose a friend of yours whom you have met in real life owns the site http://www.example.com/. When you add that site to your list of links, you can specify that the owner of that site is a friend, and that you have met in real life. The link that is created will be of the form:

<a href="http://www.example.com/" rel="friend met">Example</a>

This link works just the same as a normal link, but contains extra information about your relationship to the site.

Further XFN Reading

For more information about XFN relationships and examples concerning their use, see the Official XHTML Friends Network Website.