People who help others without expecting anything in return usually have these 9 unique traits

Helpers are often the unsung heroes of our lives.

In a world obsessed with personal gain and competition, if you’re one of those rare individuals who assists others without expecting anything in return, finding people who truly understand you can be lonely and challenging.

What’s worse is more often than not, people might mistake your kindness for weakness or see you as an easy pushover.

You’ve likely had your altruism exploited more times than you can count.

If this is starting to sound familiar, keep reading to learn about the 9 unique traits that mark you out as someone who helps others without expecting anything in return:

1) Natural empathy

A defining trait of those who help others without expecting anything in return is their natural ability to empathize.

They probably didn’t have to sit down and start learning how to be empathetic, if I’m honest.

No, to these people, feeling what others feel comes so naturally that it’s almost like second nature.

They so easily ease themselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their pain, joy, or struggles.

On top of that, this sense of empathy is what drives their desire to lend a helping hand.

When they see someone in distress, they can’t help but reach out and offer support.

Ironically, this deep sense of empathy is often misconstrued by others.

People might think you’re overly sensitive or too emotional because you tend to feel things deeply.

But they’re missing the truth — that capacity for empathy isn’t a weakness, but a superpower. 

It allows them to connect with others on a profound level and offer the kind of help that truly makes a difference.

2) Going out of their way to help

Sympathizing is a lot easier. It goes along the lines of glancing at something sad, maybe a stray dog or person suffering, and briefly welling up with pity on their behalf.

This is where the key difference between sympathizers and those who make a difference comes in; the latter go one step further and are readily moved to help out and alleviate the suffering of others.

Draining at times, this sense of empathy is what drives their desire to lend a helping hand.

So yes, they might be juggling work, school, their own family, and yet they’ll still find time to rush to the airport to pick up a friend or patiently help someone out with a project.

To these individuals, helping is not about convenience – it’s about doing what they can, when they can, for someone in need. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s difficult or time-consuming.

If you can make a difference in someone’s life, you do it without a second thought.

3) Truly believing in the power of kindness

It would be hard for those who give without second thought to continue doing so if they didn’t truly believe in the power of kindness.

Hence why these individuals do absolutely believe that even the smallest act of kindness can create ripples far beyond what the eye can see.

Plus, kindness is a two way street.

Research has shown it benefits the recipient as well as the doer, so it’s a win/win situation.

This belief in the transformative power of kindness keeps them going, even when times are tough or thankless. 

And that’s all the motivation they need to keep spreading their kindness without ever expecting anything in return.

4) Enduring resilience and patience

Being someone who helps others without expecting anything in return isn’t always easy. It requires a level of resilience and patience that not everyone possesses.

When you help someone, you don’t always see immediate results.

Sometimes, the person you’re helping is struggling with deep-seated issues that can’t be resolved overnight. It can be a slow and challenging process.

But you understand this.

You know that change takes time, and you’re willing to stick it out for as long as it takes.

You have the patience to wait, to listen, and to offer your support without pushing for quick fixes.

Hence why these individuals have a steely and enduring resilience which shines through when things don’t go exactly as planned. 

They by no means get discouraged easily. Instead, they learn from these setbacks and use them to become better at helping others.

5) Tendency to feel drained

If we’re being honest, not everything about being a helper is sunshine and roses.

While helping others can be rewarding, it can also be incredibly draining. 

When you’re constantly giving, constantly empathizing with others, and constantly going out of your way to lend a hand, it can sure take a heavy toll on you.

This is why those who are self-sacrificing and work so hard to alleviate the suffering of others tend to be prone to feeling emotionally exhausted at times.

They may feel like you’re giving so much of themselves to others that there’s little left for their own wants and needs.

But despite all this, they keep going. It’s all that resilience we mentioned above.

They keep helping because they know what they’re doing makes a difference. 

However, if this sounds familiar, it’s crucial to remember that it’s okay to take a step back and care for yourself too.

After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

6) Seeing the good in everyone

…even if there isn’t so much to see.

I’ve been told this is one of my biggest weaknesses.

The fact that I look back at people who have even clearly hurt or wronged me and still manage to justify their actions and understand the why behind what they did.

Perhaps, like me, one of your most endearing qualities is your ability to see the good in people – even when it’s not immediately apparent.

People who give selflessly tend to need this trait to find motivation and drive to help.

Thus, they recognize that everyone has their ups and downs, their strengths and weaknesses. 

They understand that we’re all a product of our experiences, and sometimes, those experiences can lead people to act in ways that aren’t the best.

This perspective allows them to approach people with compassion and understanding, regardless of their current situation. 

It’s what enables them to help without judgment or expectation of reward.

7) Struggling to use “no” for an answer

Are you a people-pleaser?

Do you also struggle with saying “no”, even when you know what’s being asked of you will drive you to over-capacity?


You might well be someone who gives without expecting anything in return!

If you’re so accustomed to helping others, it can be difficult to turn someone down when they need assistance. 

Even when you’re swamped with your problems or responsibilities, you find yourself squeezing in time to lend a hand.

Because this degree of selflessness often means you end up sacrificing your own needs or well-being to help others. 

You might miss out on a much-needed rest day or skip a personal commitment just so you can be there for someone else.

While this shows your incredible dedication to helping others, it’s also a reminder that it’s okay to prioritize yourself sometimes. 

Remember, saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you any less compassionate or helpful – it just means you’re taking care of yourself too, which is just as important.

8) Random acts of kindness expert

No act of kindness is too small for these veterans to take on.

Whether it’s paying for the coffee of the person behind them in line, leaving a generous tip to a hardworking waiter, or simply sending an encouraging message to a friend having a tough day – they’re always looking for ways to brighten someone’s day.

Their thoughtfulness doesn’t stop at people they know, either.

They’re just as likely to help a stranger on the street as they are to assist a close friend. 

To them, kindness is a universal language that everyone understands and appreciates.

And while these acts may seem small to others, they know that they can make a world of difference. 

Because at the end of the day, they know that no matter how big or small, every act of kindness contributes to making the world a better place.

9) Needing to set better boundaries

Finally, let’s end on a bittersweet moment of tough love. 

Whilst the willingness of these individuals to help others is commendable, it’s equally important to set boundaries.

And they don’t tend to be the best at boundary-setting, if I’m honest.

When you’re the type who helps without expecting anything in return, people might start taking advantage of your kindness.

They might start expecting you always to be there and ready to lend a hand.

They’ll linger at your door and stamp their feet, always asking for more, more, more.

This behavior can be so deeply draining and can quickly lead to burnout. 

Which is why, as we’ve mentioned above, it’s crucial to remember that it’s okay to say “no”. 

It’s okay to prioritize your well-being, and it’s okay to set limits on how much you can give.

Because setting boundaries doesn’t mean you’re selfish or unkind. It just means you respect yourself enough to protect your energy and peace of mind.

It’s a form of self-love and self-respect that you absolutely deserve.

So yes, keep helping, keep giving – but remember to set boundaries too and be kind towards yourself just as much as you are the world around.

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