It's a sad truth that many people think that a 'friend' in a forum is something more that a superficial acquaintance, and they can never compare to a real face-to-face interactions. I have had requests, from people with whom I've never communicated, to become my friend. When I sent them a nice e-mail thanking them, and asking why, I received no reply. I think it odd that these people just collect 'friends' like this. There doesn't seem to be a point. It would be very sad if they felt the need to have even this fleeting form of communication, and their collection of 'friends' was some sort of security blanket.
Those of us that were around before the Internet, have a keen sense of distinction between an Internet 'friend' and a personal friend. Those that have grown up with the Internet sometimes have to learn this distinction the hard way.
The Internet can seem like a big club, but retain your perspective.
If you're submissive and without a partner, maybe this will cheer you up in time for the festive season?