Y'all are my friends. I've been online since 1986, so I'm very comfortable with online relationships. I've met quite a few people (but not always from here).
I can relax when I'm here. In real life, I'm large, loud, and tactless. I feel like I have to be constantly on my guard, because if I relax the least little bit, I start to get louder and louder, and I interrupt, and don't listen to other people, and become generally obnoxious and nobody ever wants to hang out with me again (at least, that's the way I feel). Online, there's never a problem with the room being too loud for comfort (which makes me anxious and angry), and I can *control* how much I talk online, so I don't get stupid. I don't feel any pressure to drink anything, or eat anything, and none of you can see how much (or how little) I'm eating at the moment. (As a lifelong fat person, it's always at the back of my mind that *someone* is judging me by what I eat in public).
So yes, y'all are my friends. I have friends in real life, too, but I treasure my online friends just as much.