Search icon


31st May 2024

What women need to know about the paperclipping dating trend

Kat O'Connor

Adding to my never-ending list of dating trends to be aware of

It feels like a new dating trend crops up and rears its ugly head every other week, but being aware of them is important, especially for women.

The dating world is tricky enough, especially when you’re using apps and scrolling through photos of men holding up fish and bios full of ‘that’s not my kid’.

For many of us, there will be someone who crops back up, like an unwelcome beauty trend or old Facebook photo reminding you of a bad haircut, every couple of months.

For us millennials, this trend was actually named after Clippy – remember the Microsoft paperclip from the 2000s?

Paperclipping refers to a love interest that pops up every so often.

They may message you and ask how you are but they’ll quickly disappear again, leaving you wondering why they bothered starting a conversation in the first place.

Paperclipping is a pretty toxic trend as the person guilty of it is often using you as a back burner option.

They want to keep the line of communication open whilst making as little effort as humanly possible.

A dating expert told Psychology Today that people who do this view you as a backup option.

Paperclipping is a big red flag

“That person may be someone who went on a few dates with you, never progressed it further, but is trying to keep you engaged on his or her sidelines in a low-effort manner.

“Or that person could be an ex who is looking to see whether you are still on his or her emotional leash.”

“Regardless of how you handle it, keep in mind what paperclipping really is and isn’t. Don’t count a paper clipper as a good friend or a genuine option. They’re probably more like Clippy: someone or something that was around for a while until it became apparent that they didn’t provide much value,” they explained.

Adding paperclipping to the never-ending list of awful dating trends they don’t have to deal with in Bridgerton.