Forging and using personal networks were and still are common in the Chinese government. Scholars often connect officials’ networking to corruption and factionalism. This article, however, offers a different perspective, through an examination of how Southern Song local officials used personal connections to facilitate their official businesses. I argue that local officials operated networks as an informal means of dealing with governmental affairs outside the normative administrative system. This informal means enabled more efficient political communication that bypassed regular procedures. It also provided local officials with more effective negotiations, especially when defending the interest of their jurisdictions against other agents of the state. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that using connections for governmental affairs, in turn, consolidated and expanded officials’ networks. Altogether, the article depicts a political world in which the interest of “the public” intertwined with that of the “the private,” and the official and non-official means of governing were fused.