How to fight loneliness
Smile all the time
Shine your teeth to meaningless
And sharpen them with lies

And whatever is going down
Will you follow around
That's how you fight loneliness

You laugh at every joke
Drag your blanket blindly
Fill your heart with smoke

And the first thing that you want
Will be the last thing you'll ever need
That's how you fight it

Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time


Lyrics submitted by OwnPersonalDemon, edited by AnytimeAnyhow

How to Fight Loneliness Lyrics as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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How To Fight Loneliness song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +7
    Song MeaningIt's not a straightforward "guide" for fighting loneliness, that's for sure. I think it's about feeling alone and unable to connect to people, among your friends or other people. You pretend you're having fun, you talk and laugh and act like it's all fine, but inside you're feeling completely and utterly alone and never able to open up to anyone.

    "And the first thing that you want will be the last thing you ever need" - forgive me everyone for bringing up this topic, but I think this is about suicide. The first thing that a miserable and lonely person might want, and obviously the last thing they'll need.
    howtofightlonelinesson February 20, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentCan this be any more true? I'm probably not the only one who feels that I've been living a lie.
    prozakruinon June 05, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThere seems to be a great tendency on this website to interpret lyrics as ironic, or to say "this song is an indictment of phoniness." Often that is just the listener hearing more than is there and imposing his own insecurities and judgments.

    I think the song is meant to be taken literally. This song is about how to fight loneliness: deny it. Smile all the time, laugh at every joke you hear, get out where the action is, surround yourself with people, and act cool. Everyone does this, and it works and doesn't work at the same time - which I think is what the song is saying. You'll still be lonely but you'll get through it - or, you'll get through it but you'll still be lonely. He's not saying this is the way to *beat* loneliness. Nor is he backhandedly judging people for doing this, as loneliness were some sort of rare weakness or wallowing in misery some species of virtue. I think he is simply describing how he (and all of us) deals with something he (and all of us) experience sometimes. The "first thing that you want will be the last thing you ever need" line could be taken literally or ironically: I think it just means that you'll be distracted (for better or worse) from what you needed and couldn't get by superficial desires. Finally, I would also add that the line is not "shine your teeth to meaningless" but "shine your teeth 'til meaningless."
    NavinRon June 21, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti just found out something pretty damn funny: this song is on a cd entitled "martha stewart living- quiet time". it's a collection of songs that are meant to be nice and relaxing. so martha stewart is misinterpreting a song about putting on a fake happy face to the world. the irony...
    PJ10on June 28, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFake happiness and maybe someday you'll believe it.
    hoping_alwayson June 13, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti dont think the smoke reference is literal. its more like hes saying theres smoke instead of substance in your heart, theres ghosts of emotion instead of the real thing. the whole song is about pretending to be happy for the appearance of it (shine your teeth to meaningless, sharpen them with lies). if you know anyone like this, then this song just makes a lot of sense
    PJ10on March 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe song is beautiful and the words are insightful. they're pretty self-explanatory, though, and yet striking nevertheless..."just smile all the time" by itself seems so positive...and yet it's such satire
    finallyCLARITYon October 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe its about drugs, and some person that has meaning to the artist, is destroying themselves with drugs or something as they "fill your heart with smoke," because they believe its the only way to "fight loneliness"
    Myselfon August 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with pj10.. and i definitely dont think this is about drugs at all.
    rainbows3xxon June 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd whatever is going down
    Will follow you around
    That’s how you fight loneliness


    what does that part mean?
    trastaon February 18, 2005   Link

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