Generally you can categorize contacts with various relationships to you into a set of categories, for example, "Friends", "Relatives" and "Work Mates" etc.
In addition, Open Contacts provides two ways of making references between contacts: loose binding and static binding.
Either way can provide cross reference between associated contacts.
In address book programs like MS Outlook, you may define names of the assistants, manager and spouse, and the names may or may not exist in the address book. Open Contacts supports this concept, in addition with loose binding to associated contacts.
For example, you may have a field Assistant which action type is "person", when you click on the assistant name, the action button will be altered for locating that person's detail. Clicking on the button, you may view the contact detail if the contact is in the database.
In the Quick View window with advanced style sheet, you may click on hyper link of the name to navigate to the person. Similarly, you may do the same with field Company which action type is "org".
If the name does not exist in the database, of course the navigation between referred contacts will stop.
Please check predefined fields for more details.
Loose binding is useful for some scenarios in which you want to just record a name. For example, you might want to mark down the kids' names of a contact, it is a bit overkill to create a standalone entry for any of the kids.
Static binding is to create static references between two existing contacts in the database.
Person to companies
Company to other companies
Person to other people
Company to other people
View Relationships in Quick Window
If the Advanced Style Sheet option is available (defined in Options), you may have linked contacts presented on the top. When clicking on the hyper links, you may navigate contacts associated to each other.
There are a few more hints of managing relationships.