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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    Nov 10th, 2009 11:35pm report

    even though i dont believe this is the real meaning of the song, as other people have collected qoutes from the actual lead singer, i always thought that it was about someone who had just lost a very close friend or family member and in the music video and in the lyrics it is giving you instructions on how to overcome your grief. But hey, that was just my thoughts they may be very different from the actual meaning of the song, but they can't be wrong if they are my own personal opinion.


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    Oct 23rd, 2009 10:41am report

    First time I heard this song I got the impression that the girl has come to comfront her boyfriend about a problem but he doesn't seem to get it, and she feels as if shes lost him. And that the part where it says
    "And I would have stayed up with you all night
    Had I known how to save a life

    I think its saying she would have stayed and helped him if she'd known how to. Thats my first thoughts but now that I've read others I can see how it'd be about drugs.


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    Sep 26th, 2009 9:58am report

    I don't know what it means but I think it's about he thinks he could have saved the life of his friend.


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    Sep 19th, 2009 9:19pm report

    I always thought the song was about someone feeling guilty for not being there for their suicidal friend.


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    Sep 10th, 2009 9:55pm report

    i, as well as a few other people, think it's about suicide.
    think about it, "i would have stayed up with you all night had i know how to save a life." i know the REAL meaning is about the kid in the camp and all, but when i first heard this, it immediately clicked for me. if someone knew about the suicidal thoughts, they would have saved the person's life. its like a guide to what to do if you are having those thoughts.


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    Sep 3rd, 2009 9:34am report

    i took this as a friend who is suicidal and you try to help him, by talking to him, but he isnt working with you. and your afraid and you blame yourself.
    you let him knw that you know whats good for him, because you are obviously thinking straighter than he is. you try to ignore his excuses and defenses, but you dont let him believe that he is innocent and that this isnt a problem. you point out what is wrong with the picture. and you pray for him, you pray that he hears where your coming from and that he knows how important he is to you.
    he gets mad, you stay cool. he will eather admit he has a problem, or say he's not like you and other people, that you dont understand.
    and you lost him. you were mad at him and you couldnt help him in the way that he needed help. you tried everything you could, but you just couldnt help.

    i wish you would have talked to me alex. i wish i knew there was a problem. i wish i had known how to save your life my friend.


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    Aug 31st, 2009 8:34pm report

    Many prior interpretations have this pretty close. Here's some additional detail from an interview with Isaac Slade:
    Well there’s a group home here in Denver called Shelterwood (now located in KC, MO and Branson, MO), and it takes in kids who’ve had a tough time; their parents don’t want to send them to jail, but they can’t keep track of them
    themselves… A friend of mine was actually the president for that particular school, so he asked Joe and I to come up for one of their weekend retreats… I was paired up with one kid in particular. His story was just amazing – all the relationships that he had put at risk because of the decisions he made, and eventually losing the relationships…the cost of his lifestyle and his choices, and kind of relating them to my own life and my own stories;
    seeing all the relationships I’ve threatened for one reason or another. It was a really inspiring weekend.


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    Aug 25th, 2009 8:32am report

    In my eyes, I see it as the speakers, friend who has commited suicide due to a bad relationship or something. So for arguments sake, say that the speakers friend has broke up with his girlfriend. The speaker goes round to his friends home to comfort him. His friend is distraught but convinces the speaker that he is fine so the speaker leaves. Then, the friend kills himself. Hense the lyrics 'Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend. Somewhere in the bitterness and if i'd have stayed up with you all night, I'd have known how to save a life.'

    I feel this is a better fit to the lyrics than the drug problem. I may be wrong though.


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    Aug 2nd, 2009 8:51pm report

    To me the song How to Save a Life by The Fray, is about suicide, or even a major drug problem. To me the song describes how people want to help out this person from depression or drugs, to get their mind out of thinking about crossing over to the place where it's hard to come back and taking that path. It is also how hard people try to help them but sometimes it just isn't enough and then you loose that friend.


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    Jul 27th, 2009 7:48pm report

    It's about suicide because it says " if I stayed up with you all night then I'd know how to save a life" I'm guessing his friend wanted to kill himself while the fray was sleeping


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    Jul 23rd, 2009 7:12am report

    This is how I see the song. It's obvious that even though it is a guy singing he is singing through a woman. She has a man than she deeply cares about and they are intimate, he has serious problems, but unknown. She sticks by him, has tried and tried and probably has not been treated well by him but still so much cares about him to get to this point where she realizes that she cannot help him nor be a victim to him. Therefore, she has to give him up even though she cares for him deeply and is feeling guilt that she cannot save his life.


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    May 10th, 2009 5:03am report

    I think it is about a girl who doesnt like how her relationship is going with her boyfriend, and so ends it. she then realizes... or never forgot... that she still loves this person, 'and begins to wonder why she came'. So whil he goes left, she goes toward the window on the right, after she jumps, this boy believes it was his fault that she killed herself, and realizes he was the one who could have prevented had he been better to her, had he known this was going to happen, he could have saved her life if he would have payed attention and 'stayed up with her all night'


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    May 6th, 2009 5:44pm report

    the singer lost a friend. they commited suicide, and he feels that he could have helped them if he would have known how.


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    Mar 27th, 2009 3:48am report

    I can relate to this song coz I have a friend that talks to me about her serious problems at school(W.S.H.S)-first sports school.. newai I really don't think its only about someone taking drugs but also other ways of committing suicide.. This girl she talks to me, only, about killing herself coz of personal issues. And I try to help her but sometimes get into arguments but I just let her know that shez right..right now 27march09 I haven't seen her in a while she hasn't spoken to me and I wonder 'where did I go wrong'...........


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    Mar 8th, 2009 3:39pm report

    I think this song is about a girl trying to talk to her boyfriend about their relationship changing but her wanting it to stay the same. She trys to tell him to stop changing and he wont listen to what she has to say. Then she starts to wonder why she even tried to help their relationship at all and she gets mad and leaves. Then she realized that she didnt have to act that way and could have saved him from what he was turning into but not forcing him to make a choice. But thats just my point of view (:

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