I want to dislike this advice, because I dont like to think that it's true.... but I have to agree, because it always proves to be (in my experience). The thing about letting flickr/family/friend compliments get to their head is the most discouraging thing... In my experience it hasn't been worth it and it always becomes hostile, or just ends with no results at best.
My theory is that, if someone is motivated to actually learn to take great photos, they can and will do it on their own (internet, books, etc). More often the case however: they see the notoriety you are gaining amongst mutual friends or family, doing something that is seemingly all fun and games, and of course that's appealing—not necessarily motivated by the artistic aspect of it. Definitely not accusing your neighbor of being in that category, but in my experience, the latter description fits the type of person that approaches me for help. They want the internet popularity and compliments, not a respectable final product or the path that it takes to get there.
I mean, if I were to have my brain wiped of all photography knowledge and made to start again, I would RATHER be left on my own to research and learn at least at first... even if I had access to a world-class teacher. If I didn't even have the motivation and patience for that, what good would I be in the hands of a pro anyway?
I know my mind is always in the gutter, but I think of knocking boots... which is what I'm guessing isn't what you are sagging. though that to can ruin a relationship... but out of all the ways to ruin a friendship, it's my favorite.
as for doing it all over again... wow... I was just so green and naive and I still did a reasonable job with what I had... from changing angles to focusing and timing... ugh. it would be so awful.