Umm, I think you can long press the middle of the screen, and go to samsung widgets => and it should be friends. Sorry I don't remember my touchwiz days that well. Make sure you have enough space on the screen (long press anything else and drag to the trashcan at the bottom).
First of all, welcome to the forums, and congrats on getting a really awesome phone. It's one of the best purchases I've ever made.
The widget you're looking for is the Buddies Now widget. To add it again, tap and hold your finger on the screen while in one of your home screens. After a couple seconds, a menu should pop up, tap Samsung Widgets. Then scroll down until you find the Buddies Now one. Have fun going through the different widgets available!