XFN – XHTML Friends Network

XFN (XHTML Friends Network) is a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks.

Human relationships are mentioned in the links (<a> – anchor tag) using the HTML 4.0 attribute REL. The REL attribute describes the relationship from the current document to the anchor specified by the HREF attribute. The value of this attribute is a space-separated list of link types.

XFN defines relationships like Friendship, Physical, Professional, Geographical, Family, Romantic and Identity that can be included in the <a> tag.

Following are the possible values of the relationships.

  • Friendship – Friend, Acquaintance, Contact
  • Physical – Met
  • Professional – Co-worker, Colleague
  • Geographical – Co-resident, Neighbor
  • Family – Child, Parent, Sibling, Spouse, Kin
  • Romantic – Muse, Crush, Date, Sweetheart
  • Identity – Me

Read More about XFN Relationships

For example, the link in your personal page or blog

<a href=”http://www.spillai.com/” rel=”co-worker friend met”>Sree</a>


means that you and me work in the same organization, we are friends and met.

XFN definitions keep gender neutrality, positive or neutral relationships only and not time bound.

Now, don’t you think it should be called XRNXHTML Relationship Network? It is more if defining relationships than just friendship. (It is relationship, not relationslip!)

Visit XFN Homepage for more details. There are tools to help you create the XFN links and lists XFN search engines.

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