This scene comes up pretty often and surprisingly it’s interesting that some people say this. I say it’s interesting because it’s a vague response that can mean a lot things.
Japanese people (i.e., people I know, including myself) don’t use that word.
Japanese people don’t use that word (normally in conversation, period).
Japanese people don’t use that word (in this context).
Japanese people don’t use that word (because I don’t encounter often in media around me).
The list goes on. Japanese people aren’t a monolith that all do the exact same things despite some alleging that they do. All words you learn are useful but in different ways, as you have already acknowledged in your post.
One thing that can help is using a corpus like the Tsukuba Corpus along with a thesaurus to understand how the words you learn come in a sentence. Some people use simple Google searches to compare words to see which might be more common.
Another thing I’ve done is avoid using words on WK in conversations until I’ve heard people use those words in conversation. Because it’s a reading program, a lot of words you learn here might be primarily used in literary, academic, and more formal contexts, which makes them seem out of place. Simply saying, “I don’t know the correct word but it means/or is used (in this situation)” helps to get people to teach you words in a conversational context.
Lastly, learning common collocations can help guide you to more general ways people say things in Japanese. There are books out there provide lists of natural ways of saying certain things.