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A few good friends can go a long way


Feb. 3, 2021

My Dear Old Friends,

I’m feeling a little guilty lately, beating myself up a bit as I question what kind of friend I’ve been over the years. I can’t help but think how good some people have been to me and wonder where they are now as I’ve lost contact. My wife’s friends seem to be my only friends, and I hang out with my kid’s friend’s parents on the weekend…mmmm…no shade. My coworkers do fill in nicely when I need to talk, and joke. But what about all the relationships that helped to shape me.  Where are those people? It’s too many to name that were there through my ridiculousness and, at the time, deep arguments, and debates. Where are those influences that made me who I am?

Andre Collins, PAF Executive Director

Friendships are good for your health and overall well-being. Friends are easy to come by, but it’s hard to build the kind of bond that lasts a lifetime. I remember lots of laughs with my old friends.  There were so many good times, and during tough times no words needed to be said because we all felt the same. My friends were good to me and celebrated me genuinely.

Friends give good advice even when you don’t want to hear it. And you almost never follow the good advice from those that know you best. Leaving the door open for a true friend to say “I told you so,” …I’ve had too many of those moments.

Friends don’t let you be lonely. My friends always knew when to call, those faithful compadres. They let the ‘real me’ belong; a little goofy, talked too much at the wrong time and curious about the oddest stuff. My friends and I rallied around our situation and circumstances. We were happy and gave each other confidence. We built each other up…we’d say, “Keep trying, you’re with us!”

Friends return home for one another when someone from the tribe is sick or worse has to say goodbye forever.

As an adult I’ve met people I’m fond of and warm to. I call them friends but it’s hard to develop those same fearless type of friendships I developed when I was younger and felt like I had nothing to lose.

When you get older, developing friendships take a back seat to duties as a husband and father. Supporting your wife and finding the right words to nurture your kids is ever-present. And those dear old friendships grow apart as life gets in the way. That distance removes us from the past.

Maintaining a good friendship takes a big effort, good listening skills and being open. Make yourself available and it will be worth the joy and comfort a good friendship can provide. A few good friends can go a long way.

My challenge over the next few months to you is to reconnect with old friends. They know you and even though you may have changed over the years, the common ground that was built many years ago lies somewhere beneath the surface.

I read something recently that said just reach out to old friends. So, I will! And over the next few months I’ll share the stories of those reunions. It’s never too late to reconnect. There are lots of good years left to laugh…wish me luck.

As an exercise in wellness I challenge you to go back and reconnect. There may be a bond that still exists that will lift you up!

Action Creates an Opportunity for real joy and real friendships.

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Andre Collins
Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

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