Organizational research has documented how those who help receive positive treatment and outcomes in return. However, because the literature suggests that most helping at work is reactive, it has prevented thorough investigation of anticipatory helping—anticipating the needs of others and offering or providing assistance without being asked—and that such anticipatory helping may result in less positive outcomes for helpers. Integrating social exchange theory and self-affirmation theory, we propose that anticipatory helping is more self-threatening to recipients compared to reactive helping, subsequently making recipients less likely to accept help and more likely to lower their performance and relational evaluations of the helper. Moreover, we identify the relative status of the helper as a key moderating condition such that anticipatory helping’s effects are stronger (weaker) when the helper has peer or higher (lower) status. Finally, we propose a solution to this problem by investigating how peer and higher status helpers can mitigate the detrimental effects of anticipatory helping when they have or signal a more balanced social exchange relationship with the recipient. We find general support for these predictions across four studies utilizing experimental and field methodologies. We discuss their implications for research on helping, social exchange, and status.