The integration from User Relationships and Drupalchat works as I hoped it would. Out of the box, Drupalchat for authenticated users allows all users to see everyone. But with the integration, you can create a buddy list.
the one other thing that i need is a way to have any authenticated user communicate with me. especially in the beginning so that I can provide a high level of support for the pioneering members. I believe that can also be done.
Here is what you see from the Drupalchat config screen regarding User Relationships: