What does How to Save a Life mean?

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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...


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    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...


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    Jan 10th, 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.


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    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!


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    Feb 27th, 2016 2:50pm report



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    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...


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    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


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    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)


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    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"


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    Mar 15th, 2013 3:46am report

    It's about suicide , my friend lost her life to suicide , love this song! i think people have their own interpretations of the song and can relate to it in different ways :)


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    Feb 3rd, 2013 2:04pm report

    To me this song Is about someone who Is crying out trying to be heard because of their guilt of knowing about a problem but basically putting it aside and forgetting about it. It can be about anything you want it to be. In some ways it can be a metaphor but in other ways it can be exactly what it says it Is. It's about the devistation of knowing you could have done something, you could have helped but you didn't think mattered even it you did, and now you suffer in silence feeling completely defenceless against The pain.


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    Jan 24th, 2013 1:00pm report

    I think this song is about someone who you care deeply about who's gone down the wrong path (drugs, depression) and you offer help but they refuse and you dont know what to do for them anymore and feel like you're losing them


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    Jan 2nd, 2013 1:36pm report

    This isn't really an interpretation, I know the songs about the teen the lead singer met mentoring at a camp, and how he had no idea how to help him, but whenever I heard it it would immediately remind me of the ending of thirteen reasons why. For anyone who hasn't read the book, I'm talking about the part where the main character tries to reach out to her counseler for help. She was suicidal and wanted to kill herself, and she went to this trusted adult, seeking his help. All he could say was I'm sorry, but I don't know what to do and literally condemned her. The lyrics fit almost perfectly to how the book describes that scene and I'm reminded o it every time.

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