50 Indirect Quotes To Boost Communication

Are you searching for some interesting indirect quotes? 

This collection of indirect quotes proves that being subtle has its advantages. 

Are there benefits to being indirect?

Everyone has a preferred communication style. 

We all express and receive information in different ways. 

Below are some of the advantages of being indirect:

  • Indirect communication allows you to set boundaries without being offensive. 
  • Indirect communication allows you to decline or say no without hurting people’s feelings. 
  • Indirect communication allows you to edit and adjust your message as you go. 

Communication naturally will have misunderstandings. 

We can become better listeners and speakers by employing more indirect forms of communication. 

Reading body language and looking for nonverbal indicators increases our perceptiveness. 

Growing up in the West can make us believe our way is the “correct” way.

However, many of the world’s cultures prefer to communicate in indirect manners.

Learning to incorporate such forms of communication is beneficial to our development. 

Being indirect has advantages

Many of the conflicts that happen in the world and our personal lives result from miscommunication. 

Differentiating between indirect and direct communication is a valuable skill set. 

People who grew up in cultures that communicate indirectly can easily pick up on the layered nuances. 

However, those who grew up in cultures with direct communication may have difficulty as their communication style can be perceived as threatening or abrasive.

Check out our indirect quotes below for more thought-provoking content. 

If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of communication quotes to strengthen relationships.

Short indirect quotes

These indirect quotes use few words to make big points. 

1. “Boys frustrate me. I hate all their indirect messages.” — Kirsten Dunst 

2. “I guess I’m more of a direct person than an indirect one.” — Holly Hunter 

3. “I feel there’s a power in theatre, but it’s an indirect power.” — Tony Kushner

4. “My experience of Chinese culture is indirect, through echoes.” — Gene Luen Yang

5. “The books of C.S. Lewis had a very profound, indirect effect on me.” — J. I. Packer 

6. “The most important pathological effects of pollution are extremely delayed and indirect.” — Rene Dubos  

7. “Higher ceilings allow the use indirect lighting, which is much healthier and reduces glare.” — Helmut Jahn 

8. “There are direct paths to a successful career. But there are plenty of indirect paths, too.” — Clayton M. Christensen  

9. “Countries are effectively paid deference in direct and indirect ways if they’re huge oil suppliers.” — James Woolsey 

10. “I don’t practice indirect free-kicks, but the technique and how I strike the ball I practice a lot.” — Steph Houghton 

Indirect quotes and sayings

Here is a collection of indirect quotes and sayings to provide more context to the subtleties of indirect communication. 

11. “In most riots in India, Congress has had a direct or indirect involvement. History bears this out.” — Piyush Goyal 

12. “Examples of direct taxes are income and property taxes. Examples of indirect taxes are import and excise taxes.” — G. Edward Griffin 

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13. “Alfred Nobel believed that social changes are brought about slowly, and sometimes by indirect means.” — Bertha von Suttner 

14. “For a long time, I imagined – and I know it’s absurd – that she was an indirect casualty of the Vietnam War.” — David Means 

15. “Power works best when it is indirect – never coercing people; instead, getting them to voluntarily align with your interests.” Robert Greene 

16. “Whether there’s even an ocean on Pluto deep inside is a question I hope New Horizons can address in indirect ways.” — Alan Stern 

17. “You give it that weight by drawing on your direct experiences and indirect experiences from people that you know well, or a little.” — Ian Anderson

18. “I want to open up investment even further, so over the summer, we’ll launch a consultation on indirect investments in social enterprises.” — David Gauke 

19. “I remember feeling that technology was like trying to draw with your foot. In a ski boot. It was the most indirect way to work imaginable, but the potential had us all excited.” — Chris Wedge 

20. “I think my main thing about direct or indirect experiences as near to home as it were is the idea of self-sacrifice really.” — Jeremy Northam 

Indirect communication quotes

These quotes highlight those who indirectly impact the world. 

21. “It has yet to be shown by direct biochemical methods, as opposed to the indirect genetic evidence mentioned earlier, that the code is indeed a triplet code.” — Francis Crick 

22. “The chief benefit, which results from philosophy, arises in an indirect manner, and proceeds more from its secret, insensible influence, than from its immediate application.” — David Hume 

23. “I think, in a written novel, the way in which you play with the readers’ emotion or the way in which you engage the readers’ emotions can be very indirect.” — Salman Rushdie

24. “Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” Jane Austen 

25. “Note, besides, that it is no more immoral to directly rob citizens than to slip indirect taxes into the price of goods that they cannot do without.” Albert Camus 

26. “A lie does not consist in the indirect position of words, but in the desire and intention, by false speaking, to deceive and injure your neighbor.” — Jonathan Swift 

27. “The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences.” — Louis Pasteur 

28. “Sound is your friend because sound is much cheaper than picture, but it has equal effect on the audience – in some ways, perhaps more effect because it does it in a very indirect way.” — Francis Ford Coppola 

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29. “Whether there is a direct valuation or an indirect valuation, there is value, and Facebook understands that well.” — Brian Acton 

30. “A lot of the ups and downs for me, especially the downs, I feel like it came in a lot of indirect ways because I didn’t appreciate what I had.” — T. J. Perkins 

Indirect quotes for fake friends

Inauthentic relationships can result in the negative aspects of indirect communication. 

31. “For any business that has an indirect model to move into the direct business is very difficult and very challenging.” — Ted Waitt 

32. “There are works of literature whose influence is strong but indirect because it is mediated through the whole of the culture rather than immediately through imitation.” — J. M. Coetzee 

33. “But picketing – picketing for or against something, and handing out literature – these are conspicuously formal actions. They have to be understood as indirect communication.” — Tony Conrad 

34. “Our research indicates that, for example, the physical risks of climate change – both the direct risks to facilities, but also the indirect risks to economic growth and otherwise, are more pronounced and happening more quickly than a traditional perspective would suggest.” — Brian Deese

35. “Lesbian existence comprises both the breaking of a taboo and the rejection of a compulsory way of life. It is also a direct or indirect attack on the male right of access to women.” — Adrienne Rich 

36. “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. But it is likely to exert an indirect and reciprocal influence on science itself.” — Ada Lovelace 

37. “People can believe pretty much whatever they want to believe about moral and political issues, as long as some other people near them believe it, so you have to focus on indirect methods to change what people want to believe.” — Jonathan Haidt 

38. “You have to believe in a placebo or it won’t work, but if it works, it’s obviously working in some indirect way, through feedback in the immune system, let us say, or in the willpower of the patient to take a more strenuous exercise in their own therapy.” — Charles Jencks 

39. “At this moment, by an undeserved stroke of fortune, I am the direct voice of the poets of my race and the indirect voice for the noble Spanish and Portuguese tongues.” — Gabriela Mistral 

40. “The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military. Indirect may not be a full characterization of the way it is. It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.” — Joseph Dunford 

Indirect quotes for haters 

Sometimes those who dislike us can be our most powerful motivators. Here are some indirect quotes for anybody dealing with opposition. 

41. “The universe is asymmetric, and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences. The universe is asymmetric.” — Louis Pasteur 

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42. “Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.” — Simone Weil 

43. “If there’s any indirect way I can motivate or inspire Olympic athletes… that is one of the greatest honors. Even Natalie Coughlin saying that I inspired her. I’m so humbled by that. I think that’s amazing.” — Summer Sanders 

44. “The truth is that anyone, almost anyone, who receives the Nobel Prize has some indirect knowledge of one sort or another that they may be a candidate.” — James Rothman 

45. “Before seeing ‘The Pride of the Yankees,’ you may or may not know that the Yankees referred to are the ones who win the World Series each year. After seeing it you will find that the reference is indirect.” — Manny Farber 

46. “The work of essayists is vital precisely because it permits and encourages self-knowledge in a way that is less indirect than fiction, more open and speculative.” — Charles J. Shields

47. “A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.”— James Allen

48. “In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack–the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.” — Sun Tzu

49. “All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.” — George Orwell

50. “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” — Dale Carnegie

Indirect communication can be your friend

Indirectness can cause confusion and misunderstanding for those unaccustomed to how it works. 

Deborah Tannen, a well-known linguist, notes, “indirectness is a fundamental element in human communication.” 

We begin communicating indirectly as infants. 

Adults and children use words, yet babies communicate effectively without words. 

An infant’s sounds, facial expressions, and gestures are all indirect forms of communication. 

A wide array of communication strategies will help us share and receive information more effectively.  

The disconnect between direct and indirect communication styles largely impacts cultural and peer-to-peer miscommunication.  

We live in a global society. 

We must develop cultural fluency, particularly in shared work or living environments. 

We can avoid discomfort or embarrassment by paying attention to indirect communication cues. 

Do you have a favorite indirect quote? 

Do you prefer direct or indirect communication? 

Be sure to let us know in the comment section.

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