I was talking to Marc Gravell on chat and he thought this might be worth mentioning here to see if others would be interested in it. It could be implemented as a simple grey star in the Gravatar popup box, when clicked it goes yellow and that user is added to your "Friends list" (sounds a bit care bears and unicorns?). e.g.

Hooray, Marc is my friend!

Now, in the lobby Marc would appear in my Friends list and I could access this Gravatar box from there without having to join a room he's in or search for him using the search box.

Another possible implementation might be to keep track of who the user has been @-mentioning and populate the list as a "recently chatted with", as Jon B mentioned in the comments.

Related (just in case you wanted to connect the two somehow):
A "friends list" on Stack Overflow would be nice

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    Marc and Andy are sitting in a tree... – balpha Jul 16 '10 at 10:51
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    @balpha Marc and Andy's head, that is. I suppose Marc would have to hold it in his hands. Seems a bit dangerous at first, but that glass looks quite solid. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jul 16 '10 at 10:55
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    @Pekka: I'm okay so long as the water doesn't spill out :-) – Andy E Jul 16 '10 at 11:05
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    I don't have friends, so skip that. – Ladybug Killer Jul 16 '10 at 11:51
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    Do you really think all this social networking is what SO should be about? – sth Jul 16 '10 at 12:33
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    @sth: It's hard to come up with a definition of chat that isn't social networking in some way or another. Sure, people will come with their problems/on topic discussions but are you supposed to twiddle your thumbs and not have idle chatter with the people you usually interact with whilst you're waiting for that? – Andy E Jul 16 '10 at 12:39
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    The web is becoming increasingly social, like it or not. SO risks losing competitive advantage and becoming obsolete over the long run if it doesn't keep up with its community's needs. Having said that, I don't think I would have a "friends list" per se, but maybe a "recently chatted with" list would be of some value and have the same effect. – user27414 Jul 16 '10 at 14:45
  • @Jon, I agree I don't think it should be called "Friends list", I just couldn't think of a better term. Maybe it could be populated automatically via who you've recently @messaged? I would definitely argue that people will become friends via the chat interfaces. If we all said nothing until some discussion was needed, chat would be pointless - you may as well come here instead. – Andy E Jul 16 '10 at 15:33
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    Maybe it should be called either "Favorite Users" or "Starred Users", to be consistent with what stars are called elsewhere in chat. – The Unhandled Exception Sep 19 '10 at 14:30

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