Each person should decide what they need from a camera, and find the one that gives them what they want. I'd also say it's dangerous as a friend helping another friend buy something - if they become unhappy with it, you're the first person that's going to hear about it!
Megapixels might be important to you, for some reason. For me, I consider megapixels to be just about the very very last thing I consider on a DSLR. It is one of the least important things for me. Most important for me is dynamic range, color fidelity, high ISO ability, focus speed and accuracy, continuous shooting speed and buffer size, ergonomics, and lenses. Other factors are battery life, live view, and any key features which make the camera more useful for me, such as stabilization, histograms, tilting LCDs, battery life percent-remaining meters, in-camera stacking and HDR, dual card slots...all of those were things that helped guide me to the right camera for me. I don't recall ever even considering megapixels as a factor - anything over 10mp is pretty much enough for me - I'd take more, but only if they could be offered in a non-compromising way. Quite a few cameras have raised the MP only to end up with other IQ issues - so only when the larger MP sensors have been sorted out and seem to deliver all the other important factors like DR and ISO along with the additional resolution will I consider them to be an advantage.
I personally find it's best to be open minded to the whole market - there are 4 very good DSLR brands out there, and all make excellent cameras, each with particular advantages for different shooters. I certainly don't want to guide a friend towards the brand I shoot with unless I know they specifically want or need the same set of features, and abilities, and are most comfortable with the camera in their hands. I've got friends who, using me for information and resource in my camera experience or knowledge, who ended up getting Canons, Nikons, and Sonys. I avoided pushing them towards a brand, because it really should be up to each person to make that decision and get the right camera for them.
I can do with my Sony what I could not with a Canon or Nikon. I'm quite sure a friend of mine who gets excellent shots with his Nikon would struggle to get the same from a Canon or Sony. Ergonomics is key - we feel comfortable and instinctive with our cameras, and enjoy shooting with them - so we learn how best to control them and get the most out of them. We take advantage of unique controls or settings or abilities of our cameras to get the shots we do.
So I'd say - inform your friend that there are two more manuacturers out there to consider, so they have even greater range of models, designs, and features to choose from, then encourage them to ultimately pick the camera that has the right features and feels comfortable in their hands. If it's a Canon, you can be secretly happy that they went with your brand...if they choose Nikon, you can have fun competitions and take friendly jabs at eachother. If they choose Sony or Pentax, you can un-friend them and never talk to them again.
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses