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In this situation perhaps it's most constructive to proceed with the conversation under the assumption that he honestly related his experiences, while acknowledging that we don't have a solid reason for believing him. We could run around in circles all day trying to reason things out -- for example, I could point out that exaggeration and embellishment are normal when people vent to their peers -- but we'd never get any closer to the truth. Unless we know him or the people he's talking about, we can't evaluate his credibility without making some unjustified assumption (such as the assumption that he's worse at lying than you are at spotting a lie,) but we can justify treating the story as honest on the grounds that it leads to a more interesting conversation than treating it as a lie.



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