What Is Paperclipping? The Latest Dating Term

Keeping up with new dating terms is almost as hard as keeping up with new dating trends. Anywho who dates actively knows about ghosting. It sucks, but it’s not the only annoying millennial-birthed dating trend.

Paperclipping is the latest craze and it might be even worse than ghosting. So, what is it? Inspired by your favorite paperclip Microsoft assistant, paperclipping is when someone who ghosted you pops up again. Designed (but failing) to be helpful, Clippy often pops up out of the blue to ask you an annoying question. Paperclipping is similar—someone who once disappeared pops back up to ask you an annoying question. “U up?” 

The term was first coined by artist Samantha Rothenberg, who illustrated a very funny comic about dating using Clippy and posted to her Instagram. The image was shared and covered by news outlets and online magazines, and, from there, paperclipping has officially entered the dating lexicon. The next time someone DMs you on Instagram, texts you even though you have long deleted their phone number, or calls you out of the blue, use this have a term for it. They’re paperclipping you.

How do you handle a paperclipping? There are options. If someone paperclips you, your response should largely be based on how much it hurt when they ghosted. Paperclipping is not to be confused with hearing from an old friend out of the blue. Friends don’t paperclip their friends. Ghosters do. 

The next time you hear from that guy you had two great dates with and never heard from again, don’t respond in kind. You’re within your rights to call them out on their actions. Send them Rothenberg’s Instagram post. Make sure they know they hurt your feelings.

Or if you weren’t that bothered or didn’t even really notice that you were ghosted, embrace the paperclipping. Sometimes, a second chance is the right thing to do. Just check in with your own feelings and go from there. 

However you handle the situation, remember it’s not a nice way to treat someone. It doesn’t matter what the parameters of your relationship are. People are people, and they all deserve respect.

Jessica Tholmer

Freelance Writer

Jess Tholmer has been writing on the internet for what feels like most of her life. After studying English Literature in school, she has leaned into her degree and is a full-time content writer, social media manager, and freelance contributor to websites like HelloGiggles.com. You can find her @tholmz on Twitter and Instagram!

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