Have you ever heard two completely different accounts of the same conversation and wondered which one was the truth? Of course, it happens all the time. But the problem is that when we hear two very different accounts of the same event we assume that one person is truthful and the other is telling a lie, which may not always be the case…
You see, when we absorb information, we process that information differently based on our lives experiences and our beliefs leading to a number of potential biases that skew the information we have taken in. These cognitive biases affect the way we hear, the information we value and dismiss, the sides we take, the decisions we make and so much more, meaning that two quite different accounts of the same situation are entirely likely.
So instead of assuming that one is telling the truth and the other is not, why not examine their bias? Ask what experiences they have that would make them recount the story in a certain way, examine their affiliations, try to understand the differences between the people and see if that explains the differences in the story.
And most importantly if you are having a significant conversation with someone, tie up all the loose ends before you finish. Ensure that the key points are clear (and on paper), the outcomes and actions are agreed (and on paper) and that anything in dispute is clear (and on paper).