What does How to Save a Life mean?

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The Fray: How to Save a Life Meaning

Song Released: 2006

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How to Save a Life Lyrics

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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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    Mar 17th, 2012 3:31pm report

    when i heard this song it reminded me of my sons and how they were so close to me as little kids but through the years two very important people to me, seem like we lost our friendship which was always unimaginable to me but through the weekends and the manipulation of thier mother and the very real problems with the United States and thier child custody laws, the father is almost always made to be outside looking in.I mean every other weekend and "deadbeat dad" who made up these rules and if you look at this with an open mind there are alot of fathers who lost evrything not when they divorced but when thier children were manipluated from their life,oh but a fathers not suppose to have a heart and feel pain ,he is just suppose to pay ,thats only the time they consider him a father. anyways song reminds me of this.


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    Mar 16th, 2012 3:33pm report

    this song reminds me of my friend.. she is in heaven right now. the reason why this song reminds me so much of her is because , she would always tell us her friends, that her mom and brothers would hit her and treat her bad and we always thought she was exaggerating,never really did anything bc you would never expect that, till one day she asked for help at school and one of the teachers was gonna take her from there. when her mother found out she and the brother killed her that day that same morning.. It was horrible :( worst experiences of my life.

    Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
    Somewhere along in the bitterness
    And I would have stayed up with you all night ; IF I WOULDVE TRIED TO HELPI WOULDVE BEEN THERE WITH HER... and maybe couldve even saved her :(
    Had I known how to save a life

    Thats like me telling her to tell God everything. idk this song jus really gets to me :(


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    Mar 7th, 2012 3:26pm report

    I think this song is about drugs and a friend tries to help a friend through his drug problems. here:

    Step one, you say we need to talk:
    you are telling your friend you guys need to talk (obivously)

    He walks, you say, sit down, it's just a talk:
    You are assuring your friend that it is a harmless talk

    He smiles politely back at you, you stare politely right on through:
    Your friend doesn't know where this is going so he is unsuspecting and you arent going to be all buddy-buddy with him because you know this will be a hard talk

    Some sort of window to your right, as he goes left, and you stay right:
    the friend is trying to not get on the subject of drugs but you stay firm

    Between the lines of fear and blame, you begin to wonder why you came:
    there's fear and blame in the air, and you start second-guessing yourself if you should do this or not and why did you get yourself into this

    Let him know that you know best, cause after all you do know best:
    You're assuring the friend that you know what's best for everyone (obviously)

    Try to slip past his defense, without granting innocence:
    The friend is trying to deny everything and you have to stay firm and not let anything knock you out of pattern

    Lay down a list of what is wrong, the things you've told him all along. and pray to god he hears you (two times):
    You tell him everything wrong that's been happening, the things that you have told the friend all along. You're hoping it will get through

    As he begins to raise his voice, you lower yours and grant him one last choice:
    The friend starts to get angry at all these accusations and you stay calm and give him a choice

    Drive until you lose the road, or break with the ones you've followed:
    the friend needs to keep going how he's going until something bad happens (EX: you die) or stop doing what he has been doing

    He will do one of two things. he will admit to everything, or he's just not the same, and you'll begin to wonder why you came:
    the friend will either admit to the drugs or he'll just say that he's changed and he hasn't been doing them. You will again wonder if this is all worth it:

    Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness:
    What could you do that could have prevented this from happening. you lost your friend to the drugs (which caused the bitterness)

    I would've stayed up with you all night, had I known how to save a life:
    You would've done anything to keep this from happening to your friend, had you known what to do.

    It's a truly beautiful and amazing song, it has always been one of my favorites.
    Thanks so much for reading!


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    Feb 25th, 2012 2:33am report

    This song means that you need to shake yo sass before you die.


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    Feb 16th, 2012 2:04am report

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    Feb 14th, 2012 2:27pm report

    The way i see it
    The first verse- how to get someone into a conversation "say we need to talk, he walks, say sit down its just a talk" (like he's avoiding it) "he smiles politely back at you, you stare politely right on through" (the guilty smile, they might know whats going on. A window of opportunity to bring up the subject (possible that the person has been depressed/suicidal) and he tries to dodge around it, but you catch him and bring it up. You are worried it might be your fault and afraid something bad will happen to them.

    The second verse- let him know you know whats going on, try to get through his fakeness (e.i everything is o.k) tell them everything that you notice is wrong with him and hope he's listening.

    Third verse- "as he begins to raise his voice" (as in he is really defensive, yelling i'm not suicidal) you calm down, and "then drive until you loose the road or break with the ones who follow"- once you two are alone he will either admit to everything (say he is suicidal) or just admit he feels sad, not the same as he use to.

    the chorus- asks yourself what you messed up/how you didn't notice because you were focused on yourself, "I would have stayed up with you all night"- more people are suicidal at night, he could have talked him through it.


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    Dec 18th, 2011 12:55am report

    its about how everybody can do something to save a life just talking to them for a split second can help chance their mind about something that can affect the life of others so much i have been in this situation and think its about failing to save the ones you love from the things that their afraid of. "how to save a life" been repeated so many times could suggest that no matter how many time you go over things it wont take back what has already been done and that it is too late to go back


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    Aug 5th, 2011 8:03am report

    I looked up the lyrics to this song and found comments underneath calling the fray shit and the lyrics horrible. Easy to say, sure as this ordinarily wouldn't have struck a chord with me either. However, I have to be honest. As a 17 year old girl who has been hospitalized and institutionalized twice for cocaine abuse, got clean and relapse the meaning of this song feels so personal. I almost think that god drove me to search the YouTube video for it spontaneously about 30 minutes ago because the first thing that came to mind while listening was that the song is about a fearful parent pleading with a drug addicted child. The thought brought me to tears. It's very humbling to recognize the pain that my addiction has caused my family and I'm so blessed that they have yet to give up on my. Mom, dad I love you so much. Thank you for relentlessly being there to save my life as a fight so hard to throw it away.


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    Aug 4th, 2011 8:14pm report

    This song is probobly about someone trying to help a friend quit a bad habit like drugs, and them failing, resulting in their friend's death.


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    Jul 11th, 2011 7:13am report

    I think this song is about having a friend that committed suicide, and now he is thinking back on how he could have saved them. "if I'd known how to save a life..." He wishes that he would have been more understanding and taken his friends problems more seriously, and looking back he believes that he could have saved his life.

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