You're a kid, i'm a kid, we're both here, let's be friends. The gain is clear: fun
You're in this class/program, so am I, we're both stuck on this assignment, let's be friends. The point of this connection is clear: getting through university/college.
Not so clear. When I first moved to Canada, my cousin told me that making friends is much harder once you're out of school. He was right. He said it becomes weird to approach or be approached by random strangers once you're outside the context of education. Everyone you meet wants something from you and the same goes for you. So you wonder each time, why are you talking to me? At the time I didn't understand and thought maybe he was just being pessimistic. Now I get it.
School is almost synonymous to making friends. The workplace on the other hand, isn't. Sure, some colleagues become friends, but that is not an expectation. The expectation is that everyone has a life outside of work! And when you spend most of your time at work, there's not much time to be anywhere else long enough to make friends. So how do you make friends?
Moving to California has forced me to make new friends. I knew nobody here so I did what I did 6 years ago when I moved to Canada. I resisted the temptation to spend my time chatting with those back home all the time and forced myself to go out and meet people. I can be surprisingly shy as a person although not at all as a performer. The latter has led me to conversations with complete strangers who have almost nothing in common with me, but that's for another post on busking :)
It's easier to make friends with people who have something in common, so I made friends with people who were also new to the area, colleagues who also play music, Mauritians in the area, alumni of my alma mater, other techies living in the same complex. It's too early to tell how much these friendships will grow, but I'm thankful for them and glad that I met all those wonderful people. I've learned a lot from each person I've met here. So if you're the new kid on the block, go out there and make friends!