Don’t take honesty to point of rudeness

Remember sun-dried tomatoes? They were the talk of the town some years ago. Today, “authenticity” is the talk of the town.

Authenticity means being true to your real self – not the self that wears a mask. This makes good sense when the issue is important: “I oppose such-and-such on these grounds” or “I support such-and-such for these reasons.” Being genuinely authentic in certain situations can be difficult and require courage, especially if you are alone in your convictions and the issue is controversial.

As it is practiced on a daily basis, however, authenticity often ends up being employed in silly ways. For example, the “authentic” woman who must inform a friend the meal her friend spent hours preparing was unappetizing and tasteless is stretching authenticity to the point of rudeness and banality.

It is not de rigueur to be brutally honest in all cases all the time. In fact, it is rather a bore to be so. We wear masks to lubricate our interactions with other people. Our interactions become tedious otherwise.

Fortunately, most people let themselves be guided by etiquette and do not cross the boundary that separates necessary honesty from unnecessary rudeness.