I'm an awkward person. I know it may come as a surprise that someones who writes on the internet for a living in an awkward person, but I am telling you the truth here. Just last week a friend of mine was telling me about the hard time she is going through and I responded by making farting noises. I thought it would cheer her up, but it did not work.
We then sat in silence for a good while, both of us unsure of what to say next. I made the first move and made a mistake. Again, it turns out farting noises was not the way to move the conversation going, especially when she was upset at all those other farting noises.
I was feeling bad about it afterwards and texted her to apologize, or at least that is what I tried to do. I got bored part way through and ended up sending poop emojis which she correctly read as farting noises.
She's not talking to me now. But if you check out the following highlights from AskReddit's recent thread for people's go-to ways to break awkward silences, you might have better luck than I did. After all, life is awkward enough as it is: It never hurts to know some tried and true transitions to get conversations back on track.