I (23f) have been working with a guy (30m) for more than half a year already. We used to joke around at work, talk about different topics and generally came to know each other. In those conversations I made it clear (or at least I think so) that I'm in no hurry to getting married and not sure if I ever will. I've always thought about my relationship with him as a kind of "office frindship" that stays mostly in office and doesn't go much beyond that.
After several months he invited me to go with him and his friends to a quest room of sorts and while I agreed I didn't put much thought in it, it didn't look like a date of any kind so I only came to have a good time with a friend. We went with his friends and former colleagues to the same quest room again a couple of months later which was quite fun as well.
However he recently invited me to spend the later half of New Year (31 December night) with him and his friends and former colleagues, to play board games and to eat. I agreed, but having received recently a relatively expensive New Year present (smart-watch) from him, I can't help but rethink our relationship.
While he never posed any of our goings out together as dates nor did he say anything directly about getting involved romantically and I can't help but think if that's what he wants. When we went together he used to try to hug me when we met up/left. I didn't feel comfortable, but went along, at the same time persuading myself that it didn't mean much. He is highly extroverted by the way, so I wouldn't put it past him to do it to his casual friends, but all the while during those hugs he tries to kiss me on a cheek which makes me even more uncomfortable and I don't know how to react without being offensive.
While I could have come clear and talked to him about it - asked him directly if he has anything romantic in mind, it doesn't seem like the right approach, because there's a huge opportunity for plausible deniability for him - he didn't go beyond just those hugs and going out together with other people without any romantic context.
So I need to figure out how to make it clear to him that whatever it is he wants beyond casual non-romantic relationships doesn't interest me, but to do it subtly.
Also I need to find a way of refusing those hugs without being offensive or overly obvious. So far pulling my phone and checking it right after saying hello helped - it wouldn't feel right for him to hug me half a minute after we met, so he didn't try it. But sometimes I do forget to do that and he initiates the hug and I have no choice but return it. Is there any subtle way out of it?
EDIT: Concerning the cultural aspect, I'm from Eastern Europe and while things are rather conservative here it's not so much with younger generations.