Do what you want to do and say what you want to say! Sounds easy? Well, most people actually aren't doing that.
It's all about finding out what you want to do...So, you are for example starting conversation with a cute girl...See what you want to do in that situation? Do you want to talk about weather? Her ex boyfriend? Some TV show? Or you maybe want to get to know her better, and then you would say something like...You are cute, and I want to get to know you better, give me a phone number so we could stay in touch...If she refuses , what would you want to do next? Would you want to stay in the conversation with the person that doesn't want to get to know you better? Would you want to beg for a phone number? Or would you say okay, have a nice time and walk away.
Ask yourself always, "what do I want to do now!", 'cause in the end, that's the only thing you can control. You'll never know what any women, or guy for that matter wants to do or thinks, but you do know what you want to do, so do that!
And about escalation...If you want to hug some girl, then do that. If you see that she is uncomfortable, then why would you want to keep doing that? So, of course, stop...I'll repeat one last time...do what you want