Give With No Expectation of Return

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

There was an article in the on line version of The New York Times this week about Harold S. Mintz, a salesman who gave one of his kidneys to a total stranger.

The article said in part “‘The first thing they do is send you to see a psychiatrist,’ said Mr. Mintz, who lives in the Washington area. ‘I thought that was hilarious, but it made sense. I mean, what kind of nut puts up his hand and says I want to give away body parts?’

“The number of organ donations from the living surpassed those from the dead, and has for the past two years. The vast majority of such good samaritans act to help a relative or close friend, but transplant centers report an increasing number of ‘altruistic donors’ — that is, people who want to give of themselves, literally, to whomever doctors decide is in need.”

While donating a body part is pretty extreme, the idea of giving of yourself with no expectation of anything in return is key to becoming interpersonally competent.  Interpersonally competent people know that the key to building strong relationships with others is a willingness to give first – to put yourself out there and offer your friendship, help or support.

When you do this, you build trust.  Other people see you as someone who is genuinely interested in building a relationship with them; not as someone who is in it to see what he or she can get from them. 

I see this on the internet everyday.  I write two blogs — this one and — because I want to share my thoughts, knowledge and experience with others.  I link to other blogs and websites because I like what they have to say, and I think that the wisdom they contain can be helpful to the people who read my blogs.  It’s a bonus when I receive reciprocal links.  I love them, but I don’t expect them.

Recently, I’ve gotten to know Nancy Marmolejo of  I bought one of Nancy’s e books on how to use MySpace as a business building platform.  Since then, we’ve become great e mail friends, sharing our thoughts and ideas.  Nancy and I hit it off well mostly because we are two people who enjoy helping others.  It’s a pleasure to both help her and to learn from her.

Over my career, I have always made it a point to respond to people who ask for my help: students who are writing papers and ask my advice, friends who ask for help with their resumes, children of friends graduating from college and looking for a job.  I do these because I like to help, but I also do them because by doing them, I build relationships with people. 

Sometimes these relationships lead to business for me.  Sometimes they don’t.  But it’s OK either way.  There are lots of people who do things for me.  In the end, it all evens out. 

I am not holding myself up to be as generous a soul as Mr. Mintz, the kidney donor.  However I have learned that extending myself with no expectation of anything in return is a great way to build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in my life.

The common sense point is simple.  If you want to become more interpersonally competent, give freely of yourself and expect nothing in return.  You’ll be surprised by the good karma you’ll generate and how the universe will have a way of bringing good things back to you.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. Hi. I’m Harold Mintz, the “kidney guy” mentioned above. You say that you might not be as “generous a soul” as I am… I don’t know you but I disagree. My favorite part of this odd yet “happily ever after” donation story is that I am as normal as anyone. Normal. Not always giving. Not always taking… Just normal. I suspect that if the events that transpired in my life had actually happened to you, then just maybe you’d have done exactly what I did. Normal. 🙂

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