An excerpt from a video course dedicated to developing good communication skills:

Second. You can go meta on the flattery. In other words, you can acknowledge that what you're about to say might make the person uncomfortable or seem like manipulative flattery but it's not. So, you can say something like "I hope my saying this won't feel like an out-of-place compliment, but...". And then you go on to do the flattery.

What does go meta mean?


"Go meta" refers to the action of doing things in a metaphysical manner, that is to say, in a way that considers the effects of one's actions, instead of simply acting them out. "Meta", in a broad sense, means "self-referential", examining the self and the self's actions while at the same time being that self and performing those actions.

It might help to thing of it as going "plus one level above" and acting as if you were watching yourself doing the action.

In this case, "normal" would be to simply say things that may cause discomfort or be manipulative in nature. To go "one level above", you would openly acknowledge that your actions may have said effects, and yet still act them out.

To "go meta" in a game, you would not just perform things that would get you a good score, but also things "above the game, only visible by an existence beyond the game (the player)", such as completing achievements. These achievements have no effect in the game, but are part of the entire experience for the player.

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    I doubt that meta here relates to metaphysics, but I agree with the 'one level higher' point. Wikipedia has another good page explaining this prefix: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta – CowperKettle Aug 5 '14 at 13:24
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    Indeed, metaphysics do not come into this at all. There is nothing supernatural about "going meta" on something. Or is our meta also supernatural? – oerkelens Aug 5 '14 at 14:16
  • Acknowledged. I used the wrong word there, and besides, I take every opportunity I get to get people interested in philosophy. :) I'd edit it out, but that seems unfair to the commenters who called me out on it. – LiveMynd Aug 5 '14 at 20:55
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    @LiveMynd Answers have edit histories in Stack Exchange, don't worry :) – Nihilist_Frost Dec 8 '15 at 2:04
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    @LiveMynd - I'd encourage fixing this answer (removing metaphysical point). Comments are less important, and can be deleted. – Bob Stein Oct 27 '18 at 1:33

To talk about what you and others are doing or conversing about, instead simply participating in the action or conversation.

Sometimes, it's helpful and leads to scientific discoveries. "Why are we here?"

Sometimes, it's humorous. "We are so stoned right now."

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