What does How to Save a Life mean?

Search Login

The Fray: How to Save a Life Meaning

Song Released: 2006

How to Save a Life Lyrics

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear...


    click a star to vote
    Nov 3rd, 2006 11:15am report

    The title track, "how to save a life," was inspired by slade's experience as a mentor to a crack addicted teen. "I was a sheltered suburban kid when I met this guy. He was a recovering addict, coming out of a really tough teenage life. Thankfully, he was on his way out of that life, so he was able to really look back with some objectivity. The song is more of a memoir about his slow motion descent and all the relationships he lost along the way." destined to be one of the band's greatest hits, slade isn't worried about getting tired of performing the song: "it is the easiest one for me to sing every night. I constantly get emails from people who relate to it."

    this is from their official website...


    click a star to vote
    Nov 4th, 2006 11:11am report

    It's about suicide.

    I just got out of the hospital. I have major depression and had been struggling with suicidal thoughts for months. And so many people knew and thought if they just said a few cliches to me that it would go away. Or they'd get mad at me or say I wasn't serious and I felt so alone. I know those people, if they had known how to save my life, would have stayed up with me all night. And then they would have taken me to a hospital and gotten me help. The people who knew what to do wouldn't help me. I left messages at psychiatrists' offices begging for help and their secretaries, when I finally got a hold of them, would say they didn't accept my insurance. And when I asked where I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to do, they said they didn't know. Good luck. But my friend and my parents, had they known what to do, they would have done it.

    But they didn't know and I couldn't tell them for so long. By the grace of god I finally made my friend take me to the emergency room. I'd listened to this song so many times, and all I could think was, if I didn't get to a hospital, that this is how my mom and my friend would have felt. I didn't want them to feel this way. Every time I hear this song, I wish people would get online and look up how to save their friends, whether it's from drugs or alcohol or suicide. Stay up all night if you need to and get help, whether they're capable of asking for it or not. Get help.


    click a star to vote
    Oct 10th, 2006 10:39am report

    It's about suicide. It's someone trying to help someone from hurting themselfves and thinking back on how they should have listened instead of thinking what to say or how they should have stayed up with the person all night. The song really means how to save a life.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 2nd, 7:18pm report

    hi I'm 13 and my friend died this year too. she was only 12. I think the song is about suicide. we could have listen to the problems of the person/s we loved. but when we recognized that it was really serious it was too late. and we think it was/is our fault. too late... :-(


    click a star to vote
    May 25th, 5:58pm report

    Hi guys I think this song is about how a boy had a suicidal friend and didn't do anything about it until iit was to late. I struggled with suicide for a while I flt like it was the only way to stop everything, but its not. My friends out there who are struggling with suicide don't do it please I beg you. I love you. The world excepts you so except yourself. I love am of you out there. If any off you can guess my name you will be happy to hear it


    click a star to vote
    Apr 9th, 4:31pm report

    In my opinion this song is about a person who lost his friend who committed suicide, and he is trying to figure out were he went wrong and by his friend did it. I have had experience with a friend and cousin and myself who has thought about suicide. Luckily I was ablke to get help and my cousin was to. If you are having thoughts get help as soon as possible. You are north it. The world loves you, people love you, I love all of you. The world excepted you so except yourself.


    click a star to vote
    Apr 5th, 4:04pm report

    actually the song is based on a story with the lead singer Isaac Slade. He was a mentor at a camp for troubled teens and he was paired with a boy who had a lot of problems. Well the boy i think died in a car accident with this song playing. Long story short it doesn't matter what the song is really based on. What matters is how people connect with it. i first thought it was about suicide but then i found it was something else. i know what its like to lose someone. I used to cry every time i heard this song. But yeah this song is all based on how you feel you can connect.


    click a star to vote
    Mar 16th, 3:00pm report

    If you want a good interpretation look here. My Dad went to high school with him so I have seen the lead singer, Isaac and know about his character a little bit. Your probably thinking that's irrelevant but it is not because then you know what their lyrics might be saying based on their character. This song is about the death of something or suicide. Mostly the death of something. This is briefly explained in the lyrics of this song. Such a pretty song but a dark meaning. Like I said before a know his character a little bit and when I first met him he was kind and caring. I also noticed he had all black on. Might of just been the day though.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Jan 10th, 2017 1:00pm report

    this song isnt about loss or suicide. its about something with the lead singer Isaac Slade. he used to work at a camp for troubled teens and he got paired with a 17 year old boy who had alot of issues. Later on the boy got into a car crash and died. Isaac wrote this song and they played it at the boys funeral. This song has a deeper meaning than most. Isaac Actually got close to this kid. He wrote the song because he didn't know how to save a life hense the lyrics " I would have stayed up with you all night had i known, How to save a life" this song has a deep enough meaning to cut you from the inside. I Lost my grandmother and i wanted to sing this song at her memorial. but the memorial was about remembering your loved ones. not excepting that they are gone. This song means alot. My cousins uncle died and this song would fit perfectly into the funeral.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 23rd, 2016 7:13am report

    It's most likely about someone who couldn't recognise the signs of their friend needing help, until it was too late. It's a somewhat depressing song, but is very powerful. Sorry for the long interpretation. *virtual hug* Stay strong!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Feb 27th, 2016 2:50pm report



    click a star to vote
    Jun 22nd, 2015 6:30pm report

    I think it's about suicide, like most people here think. I thought for a while about killing myself, and I finally worked up enough courage to talk to my twin sister, and she helped talk to my parents, and they helped me get help. I'm now seeing a therapist, my life is awesome, and I'm so glad I had people there for me. I don't regret ever feeling that way, because you don't control how you feel, only how you handle those feelings.

    Sorry that was pretty long for an interpretation...


    click a star to vote
    Oct 12th, 2014 10:11am report

    I listen to this song every single day and it's as if it were written for me. Though I've known of it for years a few months ago I came in from work and found my husband of 19 years not breathing. Myself and our 17 year old daughter did all we could til 911 arrived. We got him breathing again,but lost him 14 hours later. This song is powerful,beautiful and just amazing. For me it is most definately about ones struggle within themslelf and for the ones that love them deeply losing themselves to try and save them. I did this and I failed. Idk if ill ever be able to forgive myself or him even,but I do know this song somehow makes me feel not so alone. The what ifs are the hardest for me. God I miss him. R.I.P Bryan 4/9/14


    click a star to vote
    Oct 4th, 2014 10:59am report

    As I just finished reading The Death Cure by James Dashner I listened to this song and in my opinion this song perfectly represents Newt and Thomas's relationship. Perfectly. (i don't want to spoil so I won't say anymore here but if you have read TDC you will know what I'm talking about)

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    May 6th, 2014 5:30pm report

    I had an epiphany that "How to save a life" was about a guy who "lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness". He missed all the signs that his friend needed help otherwise he would have "stayed up with you all night". But now this song is meant to be a guideline to know when someone needs help and what they will do because he has learned from his oblivious mistakes and wants to help the ones he can. This song is about "how to save a life"


    click a star to vote
    Mar 24th, 2014 3:10pm report

    Its about a friend of a suicide victim, in my opinion. The singer wants to know 'where did I go wrong' or in other words, where did I mess up in our friendship. 'I lost a friend' is the friend commiting suicide. ' along in the bitterness' means it happened somewhere in the friends period of depression before they killed themselves. 'and I would have stayed up with you all night, had I known, how to save a life' is the singer saying they would have done many things, including talking to their friend out of suicide through the night, if they had known how to save them.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 1st, 2013 7:11pm report

    It's about suicide. I know this, because I was cutting a short time and was thinking about suicide, and I wished that someone just stayed up with me all night. It wasn't a great help to give me to a psychiater. I just needed someone who was there for me and wasn't taking to me just sitting there with me would have been enough. But there was nobody. I still pretend that I feel better, but I am just not okay. Because nobody out there, not even a psychiater knows how to save a life. I cry every time I hear this song and watch the Video.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 9th, 2013 6:50am report

    This song came out about the same time a very dear friend of mine died. He was way too young for his life to end. He had moved to a different area of the state. It is still unsure if the overdose was accidental or intentional. It still hurts so much... If I (we) had been there- would WE have been able to save a life? I still cry every time I hear this song... it certainly hits home.

‹ prev 123456789

More The Fray song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Black Hole Sun anonymous
Sandman anonymous
Swalla anonymous
Powerless anonymous
Crawling anonymous
The Kids Are Alright anonymous
Swalla anonymous
New Way to Bleed anonymous
Human anonymous
Sharp Edges anonymous
Sorry For Now anonymous
Nobody Can Save Me anonymous
My Everything anonymous
She Talks To Angels anonymous
Real World anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Rise Up
Imagine Dragons
Faking It
Calvin Harris
Cash Out
Calvin Harris
New York
St. Vincent
Signs Of Life
Arcade Fire
Two High
Moon Taxi
Super Far
Waitin On You
Lindsay Ell