Poppets, today I am so busy, I do not have time to answer letters--just to read them. I will get to them in a more leisurely hour. And I have only a few words to say here.
The first is "Don't Anticipate." I get so many emails about leading a guy on by going out with him, when the guy hasn't actually asked out the reader yet.
I wonder what it is that readers think they are leading a guy to? "So you want to have coffee sometime?" is never ever a marriage proposal. Nor is it a request that you become known as his girlfriend. Nor it it a suggestion you snog on the couch. Or worse. Unless the "sometime" is 1 AM after he has walked you home from wherever and baby, it's cold outside. In that case, inviting him up for a coffee may indeed be construed as leading him on, so don't.
The second is "Love, and Do What You Will." In this context, it means to respond to an invitation exactly according to your feelings, while keeping in mind the immediate (not future, not imaginary) feelings of the person across from you. So if you would like to have a coffee with a man and he asks you if you do, say "Yes, I would. When?" But if you would not like to have a coffee with a man and he asks you if you do, which is unlikely if you have been scowling at him, etc., say "No, thank you."
That's it. No excuse. No "I'm really busy right now" because men are so darned literal they might ask you when you will stop being busy. It really is not the end of his world if you do not want to have coffee with some guy. And it will not be the end of his world if you have coffee with him and then, if (IF) he asks if you'd like to go out for dinner, you truthfully say "No, thank you."
If pressed for a reason, I have it on the authority of the great living novelist Julian Barnes that men cannot argue with "It just doesn't feel right." This may be because men are a bit helpless before feelings. They love tough, hard things like opinions, which they can wrestle with. But they can't really argue with feelings, so there you go.