At this juncture, I feel that making friends is more complicated, and often tangled with a lot of vested interests especially when we're making friends, or "friends" in the workplace.
Perhaps this is why people join "social events", it's as if we're not always constantly surrounded by people already. It's simply logic really. When people in a place of competition, it is difficult to feel forgiving, or see the good in people. Once we take ourselves from that context, it is easier to let your guard down, and thereafter, let people in.
No wonder company retreat always seems like an uneasy affair - for me.
However, what about making friends? After a quarter of a lifetime, it would be almost common sense isn't it? I feel that as I grow older, I learn how to socialise more, and befriend less. I am less trusting of individuals, and often find it difficult to step out of my comfort zone. Friends become something that is almost like a mirage. On one hand you want to believe that you are friends, yet the skepticism that crawls in is that whether this person is really just your friend because they want to do some social networking through you, or just make use of the resources you possess?
I choose to (naively) believe that you'll come to recognise your Friend when both of you possess that level of connection. It's akin to finding a soulmate really, when you are able to connect at a level far beyond honesty and shame - when it's finally okay to have socially awkward moments and make faux pas. Whether if this person is from the workplace, or any of the social events, having a simple conversation will allow you to understand your position.
I like to think that making friends is having a homing beacon. You put your antennae out there and see which signals you catch. It gets harder because antennae can get shorter due to our own insecurities, but if we are willing to risk our dignity and pride, we may find precious friends in a sea of strangers who may be also looking for us with their own beacon.