We are working on a web application where users can connect with eachother and, as part of that, choose how they are related to each other.
As an example, I can connect to Joe Bloggs as an employee. The system would then know I am Joe Bloggs employee and he is my employer.
How do we best ask the user for this information and then display their connections afterwards?
Currently, we display: Joe Bloggs is my [Dropdown with options].
This means for each relationship type we need 2 options (1 for each point of view). It works fine for the employer example; I would see "Joe is my employer" or "Joe is my employee" and Joe would see the opposite.
The problem comes when we have relationships with no obvious reciprocal, such as manager. What do we put in the dropdown in this scenario? You could argue for we could use some wording like "Managed Colleague" but lets assume we have a case where there is absolutely no opposite.
Another thing to consider is how we display existing connections. Currently we show them in a categorised list with sub-headers: "My Employees", "My Employers" etc.
Not having set relationships types is not an option as some functionality of the app depends on the types.
Don't get caught up in the examples, I was trying to simplify the scenario (perhaps didn't explain it very well). The relationships will be between people and organisations, not just people within the same company. More along the lines of; Supplier, Lawyer, Client, CEO, Subsidiary etc.