What Is Paperclipping? The Truth About The Latest Dating Trend

Along with the rise of technology and the digital world come apps that allow you to find your potential soul mate with a mere swipe. It's not always pure sunshine, though. While online dating is making it easier to meet people, it also makes it far easier to disappear without consequence. 

As online dating becomes increasingly more common, vocabulary is changing, too. Terms like ghosting, breadcrumbing, and benching to describe annoying dating behavior have become more widespread and well-known.

One of the newest and latest terms that has popped up lately that describes an annoying dating trend is "paperclipping."

Paperclipping is basically when an ex or former significant other contacts you randomly when you least expect it.

Paperclipping brings Clippy back to life

Many people are familiar with Clippy, the Microsoft Word icon, who would pop up and ask if you need help with a particular piece of writing, even when you didn't want him to. Although Microsoft retired Clippy in 2007,  illustrator Samantha Rothenberg brought Clippy back to life this summer in an illustration she shared on her Instagram account, Violet Clair, to depict flaky dating behavior (via Refinery29). 

"Sometimes I pop up for no reason at all," Clippy says in Rothenberg's Instagram illustration. "See, the truth is, I'm damaged, flaky, and not particularly interested in you. But I don't want you to forget I exist."

The post went viral and "paperclipping" quickly became a popular term.

"To me, paperclipping is when someone has you on the back burner and feels like you're about to go cold. They'll reach out — not in [an] attempt to see you, or move things forward — but to re-stoke the flame and make sure you're still an option," Rothenberg told Refinery29. "It's wildly common, and there's something empowering about putting a name to the action — now, rather than letting a paperclipper give you false hope, you can call it out for what it is and move on."

According to Cosmopolitan, the comparison is genius because Clippy would also pop up at random, whether you wanted him to or not — just like that unwanted ex sliding into your DMs.

With ghosting on the rise and commitment issues spreading like a virus, be on the look out, because who knows what ghost will paperclip its way back into your life.