Ask Adalyn: Getting hip with the times

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Dear Adalyn, 

My friends sometimes say I’m the naïve person in the group because I have to look up expressions on, like “busting hump” and “Jennycrack diet.” I’ve been watching “Breaking Bad” more often to help me learn more slang and urban expressions, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Any tips on how to get hip with the times? 
Full disclosure: I have no clue what a “Jennycrack diet” is. Unless it’s a term used to describe a specific situation where a girl named Jenny sold you a crack rock and called it a diet plan, I’m at a loss.
Now that everything’s on the table, I can get to your question.
So how do you keep up to date on all the “urban expressions?” Well, you don’t.
Slang terms and cultural expressions are learned through interaction, not research. They’re fluid ideas that constantly evolve to meet the needs of the speakers and stay relevant.
If someone says something and you don’t know what it means, ask. You’re an adult. It’s OK to not know something. It only becomes a negative thing when you decide to remain silent and pretend like you’re in the know.
The best way to learn isn’t through or from listening to Aaron Paul talk about meth; it’s from experiencing life, putting yourself out there and broadening your way of thinking.
Making friends with people from different backgrounds will not only expand your vocabulary, but it will allow you to understand the meaning behind the words and the reasons they’re used.
Stop focusing on how to sound cool. No one cares if you don’t know what they’re talking about, they care that you take the time to find out.
Questions can be submitted anonymously at AskAdalyn. 
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