First equipment will not make you a better photographer! I can't tell you how many people I know who have better gear than me who can't shoot to save their life.

Second training/practice which most people don't do enough. Taking one photography class will not help you in the long run. While you certainly will learn something like anything it take time to develop real skills. You need to invest in yourself and LEARN from a real photographer. Don't take a class from someone who travels more than you do. While I am at it take a class from a photographer who focuses on people. See below why shooting a landscape is one more why to hide from people. 

Third and this is the real kicker! If your not good with people you can't be a good photographer. Having a bad personality or being shy won't cut it. Great photographers are great people persons and also probably not bad psychologist as well. 

Forth and this is a good one. Because you take better images than your friends does not make you a good photographer. Thats like saying your a great football player playing against children when your an adult. Also getting lots of like in Facebook or Instagram means nothing. People love mediocrity and will always like something that doesn't make them feel bad. Your bad photography doesn't hurt their feelings. Why not like it! 

Well sorry but its the truth...