Before Laertes leaves, his father, Polonius, offers him quite a bit of advice. He counsels his son to keep his thoughts to himself, to be friendly but not vulgar, to be a loyal friend, to avoid fighting but to fight hard if it cannot be avoided, to listen a lot and speak little, accept the criticism of others with grace but do not criticize others, dress nicely but not too richly, to not borrow money because it results in bad spending habits, and to not loan money because it results in lost friends. Finally, Polonius says, "This above all: to thine own self be true" (1.3.84). For if one is honest and true to oneself,
it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. (1.3.85–86)
If one is true to oneself, then one will be truthful with other people too. If Laertes follows his own conscience rather than the example set by others or influences from society at large, he will make decisions that will make his father proud. If, on the other hand, he chooses to follow another's lead rather than his own, he will misstep.