This article examines the dynamics between the author and an interviewee called 'Brian'. The article explores how the author's pursuit of a coherent account in a narrative interview reduced Brian's willingness to 'open up'. Brian's case is used to explore the impact of the author/ researcher's defensiveness on the interview and the process of analysis. The article demonstrates the importance of theorizing the intersubjective dynamics that enable respondents to tell coherent stories, and, in so doing, draws especially on Hollway and Jefferson's concept of the 'defended subject'. The article concludes by arguing that reflexivity is best achieved when researchers return to their data having relinquished some of their investment in their research projects as they were originally conceived.