I was once described in a meeting as being earnest and realised instantly that it was probably not a compliment. I have thought about this from time to time but today I want to respond.
So what do dictionaries define as earnest?
- sincere, solemn, characterised by a firm and humourless belief in the validity of your opinions, concerned with work or important matters rather than play or trivialities, open and genuine; not deceitful, serving as or indicating the existence of a purpose or goal e.g. “both sides were deeply in earnest, even passionate.”(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/earnest)
- serious and intense; not joking or playful; sincere, ardent (http://www.yourdictionary.com/earnest)
Yep. It was a rebuke compliment. My response, although I have to admit that my timing isn’t great: