Paperclipping: Everything You Need To Know About This Latest Dating Trend

Paperclipping: Everything You Need To Know About This Latest Dating Trend

Dhruvi Modi
Pile of paperclips on a yellow background by elvis901 (Source:
Pile of paperclips on a yellow background by elvis901 | (Source:

I feel like it was only yesterday when I learned about all the petty dating terms. Ya know, breadcrumbing, ghosting, benching and what not. We need a dictionary by itself to incorporate all these different (not to mention, annoying) dating behaviours, IMHO. Someone alert Oxford’s dictionary because we have a new dating term now. ‘Paperclipping’ is the new trend we’ve observed in the dating world lately, and it’s becoming more and more common as we speak!

What is Paperclipping?

Paperclipping is a trend inspired by the artwork of illustrator Samantha Rothenberg on her Instagram account, violetclair. The artist’s account displays the highs and lows of dating in today’s world. The abundance of technologies enables us to live a nonchalant and almost inhumane existence. Our feelings take a back seat while our needs are put on a pedestal, no?

Rothenburg incorporates just this emotion in her illustration down below:

Do you guys remember “Clippy”? Microsoft’s paper clip that would pop up whenever you didn’t require him, offering unsolicited suggestions to questions you didn’t ask. They discontinued him in 2007 but here’s what he looked like:

Sounds like that flaky guy you went on a couple of dates with who never texted you back (yep, you were ghosted by him). But then, out of the blue, he texts you and weaves his way back into your life, only to pop back out a while later. Similar to Clippy, no? While Clippy is no more, he’s left behind his legacy of paperclipping with those people who you date, break up with, and who message you again for no reason.

What Was Rothenburg’s Inspiration Behind The Term ‘Paperclipping’?

In talks with Rothenburg, NBC discovered that she was inspired by a fizzled out relationship where the guy kept messaging her sporadically (until he got the hint) despite the end of their courtship. If this isn’t paperclipping at it’s finest, then what is?

“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 tells Refinery29. Wow, that’s deep, amirite?

What do you think about this new trend, Paperclipping? Let us know if this has happened to you.

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