Oh another thing, its similar to the uppercut problem i mentioned. You are dropping your hand to your hip and trying to throw a body shot from there. Not only will it have the power of a 6 year old girl, but it also leaves your jaw exposed again.
If you want to change the level of your strikes high or low, you need to bend your knees and bring your shoulders down as well. throw the punches just like a regular tall standing punch or else you leave yourself too exposed.
As for hte making friends thing, if he is serious abount wanting to get better, he will do what is needed.
Oh and if gyms near you arent hiring, volunteer. It gets you outta the house, into a gym where you can maybe at least see how other guys train. Also volunteering promotes alot of good will with folks and if a job does open up you are in a good spot.